Stellenbosch Network

Stellenbosch Network

Innovus drives innovation through the Stellenbosch Network
 
With Stellenbosch University (SU) being integral to the development of the local knowledge region economy, the Stellenbosch Network is a new initiative introduced in 2019 by Innovus.  The network will serve the Stellenbosch region as a cross-sector and interdisciplinary membership organisation to support the local innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.
 
By unifying the quadruple helix of academia, industry, government and civil society, the initiative also advances Innovus’s broader mission to develop Stellenbosch as a world-renowned knowledge region in Africa by leveraging synergies between roleplayers for meaning partnership and collaboration for greater shared success. Other Stellenbosch Network founding members include Entersekt, Remgro Limited, DST’s Technology Localisation Implementation Unit (TLIU), Wesgro, Stellenbosch Municipality, Capitec Bank, Winetech and Ranyaka.
 
The Stellenbosch Network has secured funding from the Regional Innovation Support Programme (RISP), a subdivision of the national Department of Science and Technology (DST). Along with additional funding from industry, academia and the Western Cape government, this is a welcome boost to get the Stellenbosch Network firmly established.
 
The Stellenbosch Network will also:
  • drive inclusive economic growth by stimulating collaboration and partnerships, which will result in commercially viable, socially beneficial initiatives;
  • leverage the spatial proximity to and synergies with existing innovation initiatives to establish a support structure for technology-focused small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs);
  • initiate and implement innovation-driven programmes directed at creating new collaborative business opportunities and developing technologies that lead to stimulating  job creation, 
  • actively build onto SU’s core strategic themes of creating purposeful partnerships and inclusive networks; and
  • harness innovation for sustainable development.
 
A global model customised to address local needs
 
While the Stellenbosch Network has been modelled on the network organisations of internationally-renowned knowledge regions, it has also been localised to address the strategic vision of SU and the economic development needs of the area. Drawing on the experience of knowledge clusters abroad, including the Berkeley Innovators, Cambridge Network, Leuven Mindgate and Oxford Innovation Society, the network has a holistic focus.  As such, supporting socially-oriented enterprises and entrepreneurship capacity building programmes will form a key part of the focus of the Stellenbosch Network. 
 
Although the Stellenbosch area faces the same social challenges as the rest of the country, it also has unique opportunities to unleash and accelerate the region’s social development potential. The Stellenbosch Network will align with existing initiatives, including the Stellenbosch Business Academy and Ranyaka’s Stellenbosch Entrepreneur Network, to enhance social diversity, unlock intellectual and creative capacity, and contribute to grassroots social sustainability movements.   
 
Become a Stellenbosch Network member
Stakeholders and roleplayers who would like to help build and contribute to the Stellenbosch knowledge region, are invited to join the Stellenbosch Network. Members may be entrepreneurs, inventors, innovators, investors, local multinational businesses, SMMEs, start-ups, knowledge institutions and/or representatives of local government and industry associations.
 
As an emerging high-value network, the Stellenbosch Network will offer its members benefits such as:
  • exclusive access to valuable events and information sources;
  • exposure to a broad range of coordinated and interactive learning opportunities;
  • engagement with multidisciplinary professionals and thought leaders;
  • personal network expansion with new business contacts and talents;
  • new insights into the local innovation landscape;
  • access to complementary expertise and specialised skills;
  • increased visibility through the Stellenbosch Network web-based business portal, with members forming part of a virtual online community;   
  • valuable interactions and cross-pollination of ideas through face-to-face networking and the international web-based networking platform; and 
  • access to broader knowledge pools, best practice, stable learning opportunities and tacit knowledge sources.  
  • Innovus will continuously encourage networking among members by creating engagement opportunities and sharing news about members’ experiences and successes. 
Connect and stay in touch 
 
Even though the Stellenbosch Network is a membership organisation, it plans to engage and communicate with the broader public as well. Therefore, members of the public interested in commercial and social innovation, high-tech and general entrepreneurship, as well as the continuous building and sharing of knowledge, are invited to connect and stay in touch by subscribing to the Stellenbosch Network newsletter.
 
The newsletter will report on progress with the Stellenbosch Network, communicate official launch details and share information about member activities and successes as well as innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives in the region. 
 
Should you wish to obtain further information or explore partnership opportunities, please contact Hanli Brink on hbrink@sun.ac.za.