Creating digital futures for the techies of tomorrow, Lesley Williams from the Tshimologong Precinct has big ideas for the digital innovation hub.
In Setswana, the word ‘tshimologong’ means ‘place of new beginnings’. It’s also the name of Joburg’s newest and hottest high-tech hub – the Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct, which is home to tech start-ups and digital businesses, as well as a venue of choice for geek events. Lesley Williams is the CEO of this vibrant space, which she is evolving into the go-to hub for world-class innovation.
What is the Tshimologong Precinct all about?
The aim of Tshimologong is to set up the Silicon Valley of South Africa, partly because we’re tired of Africans being only consumers of the global technology. At Tshimologong, we want to develop world-class software developers and technologists who serve local (and international) needs, at international standards.
How has the project evolved since 2016?
We really can’t do this on our own. Working with government, big businesses and entrepreneurs is at the heart of what we do. We’ve had a fantastic response and we have identified important skills gaps. There are a lot of people who are in tune with the needs of society, but they don’t have the technical capability to take their ideas to market. On the flip side, we come across real geeks and techies sitting in labs and creating solutions without testing them in the market. The Tshimologong Digital Precinct needs to bridge the gap between understanding the market, having the tech aptitude and being savvy enough to make these things commercially viable.
What is your vision for Tshimologong?
We really want to transform the precinct into a marketplace for all things digital. We want to bring more corporates on board, working with us to transform their businesses into digital entities – an area where South Africa really is lagging behind. We see ourselves helping all companies, from start-ups and entrepreneurs to big corporates, to bridge the gap and become active participants in the future world we want to create.
But we’re not only stopping in Braamfontein, we see ourselves as part of a pan-African community of innovators all working towards the same goals.
For more about Lesley Williams, get your November Tech.