JoziHub details future plans, wants community to take over

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Johannesburg tech hub JoziHub says that it wants to cede greater control of its future to the local tech community and has invited volunteers to help steer its future as part of a new committee structure. At the inaugural ‘town hall’ of current members, Stephan Lamprecht of Venture Solutions outlined a new structure that the organisation wants to adopt to make sure that it follows the needs of its members more closely.

“People wonder whether or not when they come to JoziHub they’ll meet the right people for their business or get the funding they want,” explained Lamprecht, “And I can’t answer those questions. You will answer those questions by getting involved and shaping the future of the community.”

JoziHub was launched in February by the Praekelt Foundation with support from the Omidyar Network and Google’s entrepreneur program. Founder Gustav Praekelt says that the co-working space was inspired by places like iHub in Nairobi as a business incubator and point of focus for Joburg techies.

“The best solutions to problems are the ones that businesses come up with,” he told the audience, “And local solutions are the best solutions to local problems.”

Social and commerical start-ups need help, Praekelt says, and often that help is not financial.

Community Manager Annie Lopes (pictured above) says that work at JoziHub will be divided into seven portfolios: Communications, Relationships, Treasury and Legal, Knowledge Silo, Community Interface, Operations and Logistics and ‘Streams’. The latter will decide themes that the hub will focus on, such as women in IT and governance.

Members will be able to nominate and vote for people to work at three levels within these portfolios, which are excitingly described as ‘Titans’,’Warriors’ and ‘Soldiers’.

Lamprecht also underlined the level of co-operation between JoziHub and the Tech in Braam project, which is being spearheaded by the Johannesburg Centre for Software Excellence nearby. Professor Barry Dwolatzky, director of the JCSE, will lead the work on the Knowledge Silo portfolio in the future, while the JoziHub committee will advise on the development of the Tshmologong Precinct in Braamfontein.

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