Initiatives like Cape Town/Stockholm Connect are vital for ensuring that entrepreneurs and ecosystems find mutual partners to adapt to new markets, says the programme manager at Business Sweden.
- A new technology partnership called Cape Town/Stockholm Connect has been launched.
- Developers, investors, entrepreneurs, and institutions from Cape Town can connect with those in Stockholm, Sweden.
- The project is set to run for the next three years.
A new technology partnership aims at creating a platform where companies, developers, investors, entrepreneurs, and institutions from Cape Town can connect with those in Stockholm, Sweden, by means of a series of activities.
Cape Town/Stockholm Connect was established thanks to a partnership between the Silicon Cape Initiative, Wesgro (the Western Cape’s investment development agency), the City of Cape Town, Invest Cape Town, The Loudhailer, Business Sweden and the Embassy of Sweden.
The project is set to run for the next three years, with the overarching goal of strengthening ties and facilitating bilateral collaboration between Sweden and South Africa, according to a statement.
Cape Town and Stockholm were connecting because they are leaders in generating new startups and new creative ideas, Naomi Snyman, emerging technology and innovation lead at Standard Bank Group, said during the launch event. That is why, in her view, this initiative has the potential to lead to the co-creation of innovative solutions.
Sweden’s ambassador to South Africa, Håkan Juholt is excited about the professional matchmaking between the two cities.
Learning from each other
“Stockholm and Cape Town share so much knowledge that can be better used jointly. We can listen, learn, and connect businesspeople, innovators, and financial institutions that want to learn from each other and do business together,” said Juholt.
James Vos, Mayoral Member for Economic Opportunities, Tourism and Asset Management at the City of Cape Town, says he believes in the power of partnerships to connect local startups with international markets, leading to opportunities for growth and job creation.
In the view of Lebogang Lekoma, a director of client services at local startup Sea Monster, Cape Town is quite a metropolitan city with many cultures – the type of diversity which breeds innovation.
For Zachariah George, co-founder of and chief investment officer at Startupbootcamp AfriTech, when one combines risk capital, talent, world-class institutions of higher learning and support organisations such as incubators and accelerators, one creates an ecosystem for innovation.
“This is something we saw in Silicon Valley 20 years ago and is what is happening in Cape Town right now,” says George.
Business Sweden programme manager, Per Jansson; global partnership manager at Norrsken Impact Accelerator, Johanna Blendow; and founder and CEO of Green Assets Wallet, Cecilia Repinski, provided some perspective on “Why Stockholm?”.
Stockholm is the third-largest hub for global headquarters in Europe behind London and Paris, according to Jansson. That makes the city one of the world’s best startup ecosystems. It has the most “unicorns” after Silicon Valley, including Mojang, Spotify and Skype. In the venture capital industry, the term “unicorn” is generally used for startup companies with a value of over $1 billion.
“Initiatives like Cape Town/Stockholm Connect are vital for ensuring that entrepreneurs and ecosystems find mutual partners to adapt to new markets and learn about available opportunities,” said Marie-Claire Maxwell, programme manager at Business Sweden.