You can't escape the buzz and energy of Johannesburg. From the traffic light hustling traders to the impatient people in traffic on its roads.
Everyone seems to be on the move in Jo'burg, hustling and making things happen. This same energy and buzz existed in Jo'burg's early days.
The City of Gold was discovered and formed (by the Apartheid government) in 1886 when reports started spreading around the world about discovery of gold in the then Witwatersrand area (now Johannesburg).
The city continued to grow rapidly thanks to to its new found gold and the influx of foreigners (a trend which continues to this day) who come to the city to seek fortune through trade. It managed to even to outpace the growth of Cape Town which was two centuries older than Johanessburg as a city.
Today, Johannesburg still remains a hub of economic activity both in South Africa and the continent at large, with some saying "The metropolis of more than 10 million is akin to what London is to Europe."
But, can we say the same of Johannesburg when it comes to Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship? Is it the leading city that Africa looks to when it comes to tech?
If A Martian Landed in Jo'burg
Last week we had a Twitter Interview with Professor Barry Dwolatzky of the Johannesburg Center for Software Engineering at Wits University (JCSE).
Professor Dwolatzky played a key role in the founding of the JCSE in 2005, he has since been appointed as Director and CEO of the JCSE since 2007.
One of the JCSE's projects under the stewardship of Professor Dwolatzky is the Tshimologong Precinct as elaborated in our interview with Professor Dwolatzky.
If a Martian landed in Joburg and said “take me to the place where Digital Tech Innovation happens”, where would you send him #LeanJoburg— Barry Dwolatzky (@BarryDwolatzky) October 1, 2014
A good question. Even though there are some initiatives around Johannesburg for tech and digital innovation, there really isn't a specific area that stands out as the place were it all (or mostly) happens.
A similar question in London, NYC or Nairobi would have a very easy answer #LeanJoburg— Barry Dwolatzky (@BarryDwolatzky) October 1, 2014
The Tshimologong Precinct is destined to become Joburg’s major Digital Tech Hub #LeanJoburg— Barry Dwolatzky (@BarryDwolatzky) October 1, 2014
It covers half a city block in Braamfontein near Wits. Tshimologong means “place of new beginnings” #LeanJoburg— Barry Dwolatzky (@BarryDwolatzky) October 1, 2014
![Professor Dwolatzky with Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau](https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3911/14981715048_d2738dcf85.jpg)
Lean Startup Machine Johannesburg
Professor Dwolatzky went on elaborate on his role as a mentor at the upcoming Lean Startup Machine Johannesburg workshop.
As a mentor I support participants as they work through the steps of developing a business model #LeanJoburg— Barry Dwolatzky (@BarryDwolatzky) October 1, 2014
He further went on to elaborate on what the Lean Startup methodology is and how it works.
The concept of “Lean Startup” is the latest idea on how to support and train entrepreneurs. #LeanJoburg— Barry Dwolatzky (@BarryDwolatzky) October 1, 2014
Instead of starting with a detailed business plan we encourage startups to start with Customer Discovery #LeanJoburg— Barry Dwolatzky (@BarryDwolatzky) October 1, 2014
A tool called a Business Model Canvas is used to investigate your key assumptions #LeanJoburg— Barry Dwolatzky (@BarryDwolatzky) October 1, 2014
This is key as you then only start moving forward with starting your business after validating / invalidating your key assumptions.
Cover Image Credit: Prof. Barry Dwolatzky