Monday, 24 August 2009

Dean of Informatics and Design appointed co-director of entrepreneurship initiative


Prof Johannes Cronjé, Dean of the Faculty of Informatics and Design, is set to play a key role in the development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) entrepreneurs in the Western Cape .

Prof Cronjé was recently appointed as one of three new directors of Bandwidth Barn, an organisation that incubates and supports entrepreneurs and startup ICT companies.

He is joined by Arthur Goldstuck, director of World Wide Worx, and Brendan Hughes, director of Infology.

Launched several years ago, the Cape Town based organisation is a subsidiary of the Cape Information Technology Initiative (CITI) and supported by Telkom and local government.

Prof Cronjé said the support and services offered by the organisation is unique.

Although there are a number of organisations supporting entrepreneurs, Bandwidth Barn goes a step further by housing entrepreneurs and startup ICT companies at their premises. By offering entrepreneurs low cost office accommodation, they remove some of the hurdles faced when starting up a business.

At Bandwidth Barn entrepreneurs have access to services such as a shared reception, boardrooms, internet and telephone facilities. They also have access to a supportive ICT community and business development support.

By housing young businesses alongside established ones, entrepreneurs are able to share information and ideas. Once companies are completely established, they graduate from the Barn, making way for new entrepreneurs.

Prof Cronjé, who is focused on the training needs of entrepreneurs housed at Bandwidth Barn, said he is looking at developing a similar organisation that can support Faculty of Informatics and Design graduates.

“The idea is that designers, seamstress and other individuals who can make things are all housed in the same space,” he said.

The entrepreneurs will be offered various business support services.

Prof Cronjé said this type of support will help launch design entrepreneurs into the national and international markets.

By Candes Keating

Photograph: (left) Prof Johannes Cronjé, Dean of the Faculty of Informatics and Design (right) ICT professionals participate in a workshop as part of Bandwidth Barn’s mentoring programme.

Written by CPUT News