The Netherlands and South Africa tackling city challenges together

CAPE TOWN  [30 October 2019]. The diplomatic missions of the Netherlands in South Africa will be hosting their biennial flagship project #cocreateMYCITY in Cape Town in November 2019. The initiative will bring together South African and Dutch stakeholders to discuss ways to co-create economically, environmentally and socially Resilient Cities, focusing on sustainable and innovative solutions to urban challenges. Dutch Vice Minister of Foreign Economic Relations, Hanneke J.W. Schuiling, and the Dutch Climate Envoy Marcel Beukeboom, will be participating. Link to register your participation here.

“With the complexity of problems that cities worldwide are facing today, we need a multi-disciplinary approach to solve them. This creates the perfect opportunity for #cocreateMYCITY Cape Town, a platform that thrives on collaboration and co-creation between students from both South Africa and the Netherlands.” explains Ambassador Han Peters.

The #cocreateMYCITY initiative will include four elements, all of which will explore building resilience within cities: The Challenge; #cocreate2ACCELERATE, The Business Conversation and The Showcase.

The Challenge is a 10 day program that teams up 20 South African and 20 Dutch students. The students (with allocated mentors) will work with the City of Cape Town and various stakeholders to co-create solutions to tangible and usable business cases that solve the City of Cape Town’s most urgent urban challenges in water, transport and logistics, energy, agriculture and healthcare.  

“What makes this more than just another showcase is that the problems that are given to the students by the city are real, and the solutions implementable. As a diplomatic mission we see the importance to foster this exchange of innovation and knowledge in order to improve the resilience of our cities and our world,”  said Ambassador Peters. 

#cocreate2ACCELERATE focuses on improving the South African startup climate by capacitating South African startups who are struggling to scale-up. The startups will attend an intensive 5-day mentoring program facilitated by Stellenbosch University’s Launchlab and will focus on two of the toughest challenges facing startups: soft-skills and access to finance. Through links with Dutch mentors and matchmaking with Venture Capitalists and the Dutch trade mission participants, the start-ups will turn theory into practice to attract investments and business partners in order to scale-up their businesses. 

“Startups are your future economic engine; they create jobs in new areas and businesses and are vital to both the Dutch and South African economies. This fabricates economic resilience for cities that also contributes to social cohesion, an important element in our #cocreateMYCITY events,” adds Consul General Sebastiaan Messerschmidt in Cape Town.

The Business Conversation, a closed Trade Mission on ‘Technology and Innovation for Resilient Cities’ from the Netherlands, brings key Dutch partners to South Africa in the week of the 18th of November. They will explore opportunities for collaboration in building solutions to challenges faced by South African cities.

The Showcase brings these elements together on the 21st of November in Cape Town’s Castle of Good Hope and the City Hall. It will be attended by all participants of #cocreateMYCITY, as well as the Executive Mayor of Cape Town, key officers from the City of Cape Town, Dutch and South African businesses and potential investors. The #cocreateMYCITY Showcase program also includes sector workshops and roundtables with local stakeholders. The sector workshop topics range from logistics opportunities in South Africa, to the future of healthcare with a focus on artificial intelligence and machine learning. 

“The Netherlands Missions in South Africa are committed to supporting  public-private partnerships and to enhance the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. We have seen that bringing together knowledge institutions, government and the private sector to address real life urban challenges, works best,” concluded Consul General Sebastiaan Messerschmidt.  

The initiative will host open workshops on the 21st of November and the public can register to attend here

Sponsors of #cocreateMYCITY include: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Heineken, Department of Economic Development and Tourism and University of Cape Town. Partners of this initiative include: City of Cape Town, Invest Cape Town, Breda University, TU Delft, Fontys, Stellenbosch University, VTTI, Tsiba Business School, Nuffic Neso South Africa, Wesgro, GreenCape, STC Southern Africa, LaunchLab, the Royal Dutch Football Association KNVB, Learn2Cycle, Forwardzone, The Netherlands Cultural Heritage Agency, Royal Haskoning, TKI Dinalog, Royal IHC, the Western Cape Maritime Cluster.



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