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Wits appoints new CEO for Tshimologong

- Wits University

Lesley Williams will head up the tech precinct and help it to achieve its full potential.

Wits University today announced it has appointed Lesley Donna Williams, a consultant and entrepreneur, as the new CEO of the Wits Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.

Williams, named in 2011 by the Mail&Guardian as one of its “Top 200 Young South Africans”, has for the past 17 years been actively engaged in setting up and running collaborative work spaces and associated programmes.

She joined Wits on Monday and describes herself as being “enthusiastic about collaboration with particular passion for shaping the future of business that contributes to social innovation and enables participatory leadership.”

Williams established the first Impact Hub in Africa, “Impact Hub Johannesburg”, in 2010 and today there are more than 100 Impact Hubs in major cities around the world. Impact Hub is a community of spaces, people and programming with an impact mission.

Lesley D Williams, new CEO of the Wits Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct

Professor Adam Habib, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Wits University, welcomed Williams and said she has been mandated to ensure that the Tshimologong Precinct also achieves its full potential.

“Through Tshimologong, Wits is enabling the development of a new generation of digital technology experts, innovators and entrepreneurs. The Precinct is providing space for our country's most creative young minds to develop the new digital technologies that are crucial to South Africa’s economic growth and international competitiveness,” he says.

Professor Barry Dwolatzky, Head of Wits University’s Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) and founder of the Tshimologong Precinct says, “I’m really excited to welcome Lesley as our CEO. She brings a wealth of experience and boundless energy and enthusiasm to this important strategic initiative. Going forward my own role will be to support Lesley and her team in various ways with a particular focus on growing strategic relationships both locally and internationally.”


Setswana for “new beginnings”, Tshimologong is Johannesburg’s new high-tech address in the vibrant inner-city district of Braamfontein, where the incubation of start-ups, the commercialisation of research and the development of high-level digital skills for students, working professionals and unemployed youths takes place. The Precinct was launched in September 2016 with support from major companies including Microsoft, Cisco, Datacentrix, Telkom, ACSA and MMI. Gauteng Province through its Department of E-Government and the City of Johannesburg has also provided significant support. The Precinct also houses the prestigious IBM Research’s Lab Africa – one of only 12 such facilities in the world. Website: