From a dusty warehouse on a working dry dock to a next generation, multi-use innovation hub designed to showcase and enable solutions to South African and African opportunities, the V&A Waterfront’s Workshop17, which officially launched today, is set to lift the veil on African tech and innovation.
The V&A Waterfront has long recognised the importance of the shared economy, and Workshop17 was born of the desire to support start-ups and experienced companies, profit and non-profit entities, and big and small initiatives, in their efforts to create a better future. It will be managed on behalf of the V&A Waterfront by OPEN, a co-working space operator and a partner in the initiative.
Housed on the upper level of the Watershed, the newly launched Workshop17 is home to over 130 tenants so far. These resident member businesses, start-ups and freelancers will all share a collaborative working environment as they work to develop their businesses, products and ideas in the long-term.
With the fastest internet available, eight fully-equipped meeting, teaching and function rooms, and ‘creative spaces’ for idea generation, creative brainstorming, and relaxing – all with incredible views over the dry dock towards Table Mountain – the Workshop17 space has been carefully designed to accommodate its vision of collaboration and modern working.
“Given the V&A Waterfront’s location and diverse visitorship, the Workshop17 platform will provide small entities with the best opportunities,” said David Green, CEO of the V&A Waterfront.
“Workshop17 was a seed of an idea six years ago when we recognised that we could use our resources to foster small business through an innovation hub. Today, the result is a working space with a clear vision that has a very different kind of potential that extends far beyond the walls of Workshop17. We look forward to seeing cutting-edge ideas, plans, developments and solutions that we are certain will come out of this revitalised space.”
Workshop17 has been designed to facilitate a community of talented, passionate and diverse people learning and working together to create new solutions to big and small problems, and will allow interaction between the public, entrepreneurs, innovators and designers, as well as between disciplines, sectors and cultures in its endeavours.
This new innovation hub will have a strong technology and entrepreneurial focus, which is clearly demonstrated among the partners on board for the initiative. Nigerian-born, US-based Julius Akinyemi is a founding member of the Advisory Board of Workshop17, bringing both passion for and experience in entrepreneurship to Workshop17. Based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States and the former Global Director of Emerging Technologies for PepsiCo Inc., Akinyemi will also be the hub’s first Entrepreneur in Residence.
The space itself is home to a coding academy and a growing number of small businesses, many of whom are tech-orientated, all focused on supporting its community of diverse members and associated companies.
“The V&A Waterfront’s investment in Workshop17 is intended for positive social impact, and illustrative of our goal of always investing in a responsible, impactful manner. This is an investment in people and ideas, and not one focused entirely on commercial return,” said Green.
Accelerating technology at Workshop17
The V&A Waterfront has made a strategic decision to support the creation of a tech cluster within Workshop17 to accelerate innovative products that will capitalise on the market opportunities. It also creates a platform to promote the success and rapid growth of local tech start-ups that often go unnoticed by the media.
mLab, Silicon Cape and codeX are key residents of Workshop17, specifically chosen by the V&A Waterfront because their programmes create a highly inclusive, innovative and productive environment, with a focus on growing existing and new technology businesses and creating new skills in the field of technology, all for positive social and economic impact.
“The Waterfront’s support enables us to provide a free platform for emerging coders and entrepreneurs who are often excluded from the buzzing tech ecosystem purely because they are based in townships and lower income communities. Workshop17 will create a truly inclusive environment for this talent to thrive,” said Derrick Kotze, CEO of mLab Southern Africa.
With financial support of the V&A Waterfront, this technology cluster will work to promote and build an entrepreneurial and tech ecosystem in Cape Town and ensure access to Workshop17 for talented, emerging coders and entrepreneurs. It will function as complementary to other Workshop17 events and community activities.
Cape Town – In 2013, the V&A Waterfront announced its R500-million philanthropic undertaking in the conversion of the historic Grain Silo complex into the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa.
More than a year into the ambitious redevelopment of this heritage landmark, an exclusive 5 500m2, 28-key hotel, managed and operated by The Royal Portfolio, has been announced.
The Silo is an exclusive hotel in all aspects, including its special location atop the Museum with 360 degree mountain and sea views. Renowned industrial designer Thomas Heatherwick of Heatherwick Studio, London is the architect for the reimagining of the Grain Silo complex, which combines both the museum and the hotel above it.
From the outside, the greatest visible change to the Grain Silo’s monumental structure will be the addition of pillowed glazing panels, inserted into the existing geometry of the upper floors, which will bulge outward as if gently inflated. By night, this will transform the building into a glowing lantern or beacon in the harbour.
The size of the suites range from Luxury Suites at 41m2 with full height 5.5m glazing to the 120m2 double storey Family Suites, the 132m2 Royal Suites and the Penthouse which extends up to 211m2.
David Green, CEO of the V&A Waterfront said, “This hotel will offer something rather unique by virtue of its size and incredibly special location. We believe The Royal Portfolio is the operator that will deliver an exceptional guest experience and run the hotel to the highest, luxury boutique standard.”
In an independent economic impact assessment commissioned in 2012 and updated in 2014, findings indicated that future developments at the V&A Waterfront would contribute R223.7-billion to the nominal GDP by 2027, over and above the R259.1-billion contribution of the past 12 years.
In addition to the contribution to GDP, development at the V&A Waterfront is responsible for impressive direct and indirect job creation. At its peak, the Silo District development, at a cost of R1.5-billion, will have 2 000 workers onsite.
Green concluded, “Development at the V&A Waterfront is important in not only ensuring the destination remains relevant and fulfils market needs, but also in the economic stimulus it provides.”
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New green building ratings mean the Vandamp;A Waterfront is one of the greenest places in Cape Town.
The Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) has awarded both Victoria Wharf and the BP building 4-star “existing building” ratings, reflecting the buildings’ high-level environmentally friendly and sustainable operating efficiency, says Vandamp;A Waterfront CEO David Green.
The Silo District’s No. 1 Silo was awarded South Africa’s first ever 6-star “as built” rating last year, making the Vandamp;A Waterfront possibly the greenest place in
“Sustainability is an integral part of operations at the Vandamp;A Waterfront, and we are committed to leadership in sustainability practices in both our future and current development plans. We are thrilled with the addition of Victoria Wharf and the BP building to our green-rated buildings because we believe it shows follow-through on our environmental promises, and our genuine commitment to leaving a sustainable legacy for future generations,” Green says.
The BP building was the first commercial-scale office development in Cape Town that consciously encompassed green building principles in its design and construction, Green explains.
Both green-star ratings will be valid for three years before the GBCSA’s assessment must be repeated to ensure the sustainability practices have continued.
“Green features in the buildings include drip irrigation, lighting controls, electrical sub-metering, a high-performance chilled water plant, use of natural lighting, and, importantly, the introduction of a green lease tenant criteria reference manual, ensuring that not only are the buildings sustainable, but that their tenants enhance the eco-friendly environment,” Green says.
Source: News 24
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