Digital hub to stimulate entrepreneurship in Botshabelo 

Cutting the ribbon during the opening of the Botshabelo Digital Hub, were from the left: Deputy Minister of Small Business Development, Sdumo Dlamini; MEC for Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs in the Free State, Makalo Mohale; Minister of Small Business Development, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams; and Free State MEC of Finance, Gadija Brown. PHOTO: CORN KOTELI

The Botshabelo Industrial Park (BIP) has recently undergone an upgrade of almost R50 million by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC), as part of its Revitalisation of Industrial Parks Programme.

The BIP also features a digital hub, which happens to be part of the Digital Hubs Programme that the government will be rolling out in revitalised industrial parks across the country. The hubs will serve as centres of excellence established to promote digitalisation and industrialisation. This will stimulate the township and rural economy due to the location of the industrial parks.

During the launch of the BIP this past weekend, the Minister of Small Business Development, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, stated how proud she is to see small places developing so much. “I believe the future generation will benefit a lot from the digital hub. The idea of the hub is really a great execution of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s District Development Model (DDM) and the Presidential Imbizo’s theme of Let’s Grow South Africa Together,” she said.

The digital hub is one of 110 incubators and hubs supported by the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda), and is partly funded by the European Union.

The Botshabelo Digital Hub PHOTO: CORN KOTELI

According to the Deputy Minister of the DTIC, Nomalungelo Gina, the launch of the digital hub does not only mark an important milestone in the revitalisation of the industrial park, but it is also a perfect example of what collaboration amongst three spheres of government can achieve.

“In the true spirit and letter of the DDM, that advocates collaboration, cooperation and integration amongst all three tiers of government for the socio-economic development of our communities, the digital hub came into being as a result of contribution of national, provincial and local government.”

The Free State MEC for Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs in the Free State, Makalo Mohale, began his speech by reflecting back on how far the community of Botshabelo came, and how proud he is to see it developing into the area it is today. “This hub will provide a platform of digital access in the community and stimulate entrepreneurship amongst the young people of Botshabelo in particular.”

Free State MEC of Finance, Gadija Brown, who was also present at the event, said the hub is also in line with the DDM’s sub-theme “Leave no one behind”. “The young people of Botshabelo are not left behind. They will be able to utilise the hub to be as tech savvy as other people from other developed areas.”

Corn Koteli