Mr Neo Moikangoa, Executive Vice President: Policy and Technology for Development of the CSIR and Director: Boutek, has been appointed chairperson of the Board of The Innovation Hub.
Dr Neville Comins, formerly Director: Business Development (Integrated Projects) of the CSIR and a member of the CSIR Management Board, has been appointed CEO of The Innovation Hub Management Company (Pty) Ltd.
The Innovation Hub was established to encourage and support knowledge-intensive industry growth in South Africa through best practice transfer from both local and international expertise. It is a joint venture between BlueIQ/Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) and SERA - the Southern Education & Research Alliance (which is a partnership between the Pretoria knowledge giants CSIR and the University of Pretoria).
With its capital injection of R258 million into the Hub, the project is one of the ten BlueIQ strategic initiatives budgeted for by the Gauteng Department of Finance to turn Gauteng into a "smart" province.
Comins, who has been the acting CEO of The Innovation Hub since its conceptualisation about a year ago, says the newly formed Innovation Hub Management Company has two core tasks. The Hub has to be established, both in terms of advanced infrastructure that is able to support innovative enterprises at the cutting edge, as well as with regard to business programmes designed to develop the Hub into a sustainable business entity.
"I envisage the Hub as a vibrant cluster of knowledge-driven companies, start-ups as well as established, that are able to compete globally. We intend to become the national preferred address for all the innovative high-tech entrepreneurs with world-class ideas."
In order to meet the requirements of a fast kick-off for this important initiative, the business programme is being launched in pilot mode on premises of the CSIR ¿ called the Hub2B. The advantage of the pilot approach is that it enables the Hub to be operational long before moving into permanent premises. Six start-up companies are already functioning at the Hub2B.
"This is really part of our philosophy. We are learning while we¿re doing and building partnerships for the future. The idea is to move The Innovation Hub to its final site as an ongoing concern."
Comins is a graduate of the University of Natal (BSc(Hons)) and the Cambridge University (PhD). Following periods at the National Research Council of Canada and in the Department of Metallurgy, University of Oxford, he joined the CSIR in 1973.