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South African Tech Hubs Case Study

A study by LINK Centre Director Dr Lucienne Abrahams for the Open African Innovation Research Partnership (Open AIR):

This is a study of the nature of tech hub evolution, the characteristics of tech hub development, and the relevant knowledge governance arrangements (in particular intellectual property governance) that foster innovation success at tech hubs. This is part of a larger continental study on knowledge governance conducted by the Open AIR research network, commenced in 2016,  specifically under the Open AIR High Tech Hubs Research Theme. The Open AIR continental research group for the high tech hubs theme includes researchers in Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. The South African study has identified more than 40 tech hubs and collaborative innovation working spaces across four provinces.

The digitisation of data and the availability of mobile and Internet communications have created digital technology advancements in all sectors and industries. Digital innovation centres and technology hubs have evolved as a way of making available broadband access to innovator-entrepreneurs, fostering creativity, and providing supporting environments to technology start up companies (start-ups).

Digital innovation hubs can be seen as "ecosystems", or communities that consist of researchers and software developers, digital "makers", business start-ups, SMEs, as well as corporate clients and investors in innovation. Digital innovation hubs are generally collaborative working spaces, and may include incubator and accelerator facilities. The hubs focus on the ICT production and service sectors, as well as on digital technologies as enablers in all industries and sectors, e.g., the design of ICT applications for the aviation sector, the education sector, the energy sector, the health sector, and other economic and social sectors. A few hubs focus strongly on social innovation.

For more information on this study, contact Dr Lucienne Abrahams on