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Eastern Cape
Thursday, May 19, 2022


Cisco, together with the East London Industrial Development Zone (ELIDZ), announced the opening of its fourth EDGE Centre at the ELIDZ on Thursday, 3 March.

Located at the ELIDZ Science and Technology Park, the EDGE Centre is perfectly situated for the three major universities in the area, as well as to service the significant manufacturing sectors of East London.

Noting the concerning rate of unemployment and poverty in the area, the centre’s focus on job creation and skills development will be a critical enabler to help transition the Eastern Cape into a digital-forward region.

Cisco General Manager Smangele Nkosi stated in her welcome speech that the Edge Centre will assist Small, Medium, and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) with digital skills so that they can prosper and create meaningful jobs.

“Guided by our purpose to ‘Power an Inclusive Future for All,’ we are committed to leveraging our people, processes, technology, and unrivaled network of industry partners to help bridge the digital divide in collaboration with government.

We already have a number of initiatives in place, and the ELIDZ and Cisco’s EDGE Centre will bring industry-leading technologies to the region,” Smangele said.

Having signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the government to support the country’s national digitisation agenda, Cisco launched a R140 million-investment Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) Program in 2019, which focuses on three keys: job creation via Cisco incubation centers, skills and talent development, and national cyber security.

This new EDGE Centre follows similar initiatives in Cape Town, Pretoria and KwaZulu-Natal.

Providing small businesses enablement and industry specialization, access to workspaces, conferencing, and training facilities, as well as global Cisco experts. Small, Medium, and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) will also have access to best-of-breed products and high-speed broadband connectivity through the centers.

The EDGE centres programme has already resulted in over 100 training sessions completed with 880 individuals trained, as well as 120 SMME companies actively involved in the initiative.

“SMMEs are a critical growth driver to meet the National Development Plan targets. Cisco can make a difference in the way these businesses work, digitally connect, interact, and learn in South Africa. As an expansion of its CDA programme, the multi-million-rand Cisco EDGE Centre investment in East London will provide much-needed access to managed workspaces of the future with Cisco Meraki high-speed broadband services, Webex collaboration-enabled facilities, skills, and talent development programmes through Cisco’s Networking Academy,” said ELIDZ CEO Simphiwe Kondlo.

Acting Director General of the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies Nonkqubela Jordan-Dyani called on all organisations to collaborate with government and to play a role in helping aid the transition into a digitally transformed economy for the Eastern Cape, noting that the skills development facilitated through the Cisco EDGE Centre will support government in its objective to prepare for skills of the future and build digital citizens.

“Cisco is introducing access to its NetAcad offerings to people who are looking to upskill themselves and provide for their families and is growing and developing SMME’s who are vital to our economic growth. We are also looking forward to the innovation coming out of the centre,” Nonkqubela said.

The Eastern Cape Office of the Premier welcomed the initiative, stating that they hope to collaborate with Cisco and ELIDZ on it, and that young agricultural entrepreneurs will be included.



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