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Innovate Durban


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Innovate Durban was initiated and founded by eThekwini Municipality through the Innovate Durban Stakeholder Forum



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Aurelia Alberts

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Innovate Durban (RF) NPC is a registered non-profit company set up as a special purpose vehicle to support innovators, innovation and the innovation ecosystem through programmes, research, capacity building, and skills development. The programmes and activities of the organisation are supported through virtual and physical platforms (Innovation Co-Lab) and events.

Innovate Durban was initiated and founded by eThekwini Municipality through the Innovate Durban Stakeholder Forum. Members of the forum include stakeholders from academia, public sector departments, Innovate Durban partners and funders, relevant business chambers and coalitions, relevant incubators and accelerators, funders, investors, venture capitalists, and development agencies related to innovation, as well as research and technical centres or hubs.

The young organisation is led by a diverse and dynamic group of people who are highly motivated and passionate about innovation and leveraging innovation to advance society. Innovate Durban has aligned its priorities and targets with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to ensure its actions contribute to shaping a sustainable world. The following SDGs have been identified:
• GOAL 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
• GOAL 8: Promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
• GOAL 9: Building infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
• GOAL 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development

The Innovate Durban team work tirelessly to produce programmes and platforms that uphold the vision and mission of developing innovation in the region. They do this through upholding the organisational values of:

Creating momentum for and driving projects and programmes in the city that innovatively tackle social, system and structure issues that hinder growth and perpetuate poverty.

Collaborating with, and connect, stakeholders from all spheres, to work together to ‘disrupt’ thinking, and practice and create new opportunities for active participation by all in growth and renewal.

Connecting those in need with real opportunity, by providing, inter alia, practical tools and training, access to resources and support for self-improvement, business start-ups and community-building and upliftment.

Celebrating the city of Durban, promoting all that it has done and will do for its citizens, to attract, retain and support the business and investors needed to underpin growth and development.

Their facilities include the Innovate Durban Head office, in Durban CBD and Innovation Co-Lab, launched in 2021 and situated in the township community of Cato Manor.

Innovation Co-Lab
The Innovation Co-Lab is a community centre that is designed to empower people to become more innovative in problem-solving, create opportunities for new businesses, create jobs, and tackle social issues in their community.

The centre is fully kitted with technological equipment such as 3D and resin printers, VR technology, drones, robotics kits, and laser cutters that anyone can access and have use of this type of equipment. The purpose of developing a centre of this nature in Cato Manor is to make innovation and technology more accessible to lower income members of the community. Plans are underway to develop more Co-Lab’s in other township economies with an additional centre set up in Richmond, KZN.

Programmes and Events
The Youth Innovation Challenge (YIC) is an annual programme that provides youth with an opportunity to address challenges faced by various sectors and organisations in an innovative and creative way.

The Start Up Support Programme (SUSP) is a 12-month innovation and business accelerator programme providing innovators with business and technical skills taking them from concept to commercialisation.

The Innovation Support Fund and Advosry offers support to innovators that have a more focused need for funding for prototype development and testing. This also includes ad hoc advisory services.

The annual Innovation Festival Durban (IF Durban)
brings together thought-leaders, innovators, creatives and business to learn about the innovative trends in various industries. It is also an opportunity to showcase the successful innovators and innovations that are developed in Durban.

The Innovate Durban Pitching Den is an annual event hosted within the Innovation Festival. It provides an opportunity for innovators to market or pitch their innovative products / solutions. The top three pitches are awarded prize money to develop their ideas or businesses.

The Capacity and Skills Development Programme
focuses on critical and future skills development, including but not limited to: design thinking, digital literacy and skills development, robotics, virtual reality, drone pilot training and acceleration, and specialised machine training.

The Innovate Durban Research programme
produces research outputs that seek to inform the organisation, its stakeholders, beneficiaries, investors, and the general public on the status of innovation within Durban, the level and type of support available and the gaps that exist.

In addition to the above Programmes and Platforms, Innovate Durban offers the following services for businesses:
• Innovation management and advisory
• Customised innovation and intrapreneurial programmes
• Innovation centre/hub development
• Laser cutting services
• 3D printing services
• Venue hire
• Co-working space

Full Name of Company: Innovate Durban NPC
Nature of business: Special purpose vehicle to support innovators, innovation and the innovation ecosystem
Products / Services: Innovator Support Programs and accelerator, capacity and Skills Development, Research, innovation advisory and management, Innovation Co-Lab with co-working space, makerspace with laser cutting and 3D printing services, venue hire
Date Established: 2016
No. of Employees:10
Auditor: Moore Durban
Bank: Nedbank
B-BBEE Status: Level 1

We envision being a leading innovation agency that transforms the region into a dynamic and inclusive ecosystem.

Innovate Durban will nurture, coordinate and facilitate an inclusive innovation ecosystem through utilising the fourth industrial revolution for economic growth and job creation, with a focus on industry, spatially excluded or marginalised persons, the public sector and SMMEs.

Chairperson of the Board: Professor Deresh Ramjugernath
CEO: Aurelia Albert
Programme Lead: Tendai Pasipamire
Marketing and Events Manager: Sithabile Cele

Physical Address: 12 Brown Road, Point Waterfront, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, 4001

Physical Address: Umkhumbane Entrepreneurial Support Centre, 240 Harry Gwala Road, Wiggins, 4091

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