The impact of COVID-19 and subsequent lockdowns globally forced a re-evaluation of traditional in-person networking avenues. In an age characterised by digital connectivity, the significance of physical proximity and community for businesses cannot be overstated. What role does networking play in building value in the Technopark Stellenbosch community?
Community on the agenda
In a digital and globalised world, location is ever more paramount. Proximity to markets, capital and an educated workforce are critical factors for success, while building networks of cooperation in a business community bolsters reach and innovation.
The impact of COVID-19 and subsequent lockdowns globally forced a re-evaluation of traditional avenues of building business networks. Face-to-face interactions critical for fostering relationships became impossible, and the spatial landscape through which work proceeds changed drastically.
Amidst this challenge, the Technopark SRA recognised the pivotal role that networking plays in bolstering economic ties between actors in their immediate geographic proximity. In the middle of 2023, the Technopark Business Forum decided to take proactive measures to reignite networking opportunities within its precinct, aiming to invigorate collaboration, idea exchange, and innovation among its tenants.
By means of cooperation with existing Technopark-based businesses, two successful events were held that serve as the foundation for a new agenda of community building, not only within Technopark, but across the greater Stellenbosch area.
It all starts with a conversation
Technopark Stellenbosch stands as the cornerstone of business excellence in the Cape Winelands region, offering a dynamic landscape primed for success. Nestled amidst breath-taking natural beauty that draws tourists from across the globe, it epitomises the convergence of strategic location and resources conducive to thriving enterprises. Moreover, its strategic positioning near prominent schools, an innovation-driven research university, and abundant funding prospects establishes it as the go-to destination for businesses seeking an optimal ecosystem for growth and innovation. The introduction of yearly events to bolster community networking serves to harness the strategic value of Technopark and to create spaces for fruitful interaction.
On the evening of 27 September 2023, the Technopark SRA, in collaboration with Protea Hotel by Marriot Stellenbosch and Unashamedly Ethical, held its inaugural community-building event at the Protea Hotel. Fifty enthusiastic participants came together to meet their neighbours and build relationships through conversation over sponsored food and wine. The event marked a pivotal moment, reigniting personal interactions and idea exchange that had been momentarily halted due to pandemic restrictions.
A subsequent event, organised in collaboration with Workshack, was held on 2 November 2023 at the 16 Elektron Road Building. This event showcased the multifaceted approach adopted by Technopark to amplify community building, consisting of an educational half-day Venture Capital Investment workshop and a bigger networking event that opened its doors to the greater Stellenbosch community.
The Venture Capital Investment Workshop, led by esteemed venture capitalist and co-founder of Knife Capital, Keet Van Zyl, attracted 30 diverse participants from various tech and innovation backgrounds. Following this knowledge-intensive session, the catered networking event hosted by Workshack expanded its horizon beyond Technopark, embracing participants from the Winelands area. With live music, wine tasting, and an insightful panel discussion on innovation and collaboration, this event underscored the value of fostering communities of innovation, not just within Technopark but extending its ripple effect across Stellenbosch.
By organising these events, in collaboration with Technopark tenants, Technopark does not only want to provide unparalleled value to its tenants. These diverse gatherings transcend mere networking, engineering an environment that facilitates collaboration, innovation, and growth. When businesses take part in such networking opportunities they experience first-hand the advantages of proximity to like-minded innovators, and the immense potential unlocked by a shared platform for idea exchange in their own backyard.
To explore the boundless opportunities and be part of this thriving ecosystem, sign up for our newsletter, register on our FREE business directory and register your business on the Techno App. If you are a business within Technopark Stellenbosch and would like to propose a potential collaboration, contact us and we can start the conversation.