The East London Industrial Development Zone launches its Science and Technology Park (STP) today, an innovation hub aimed at speeding up the pace of economic development in the Eastern Cape by increasing the competitiveness, efficiency and effectiveness of local industry.

Amongst other things, the ELIDZ STP has been established to showcase how the zone will leverage its innovations as a means to further enhance its attractiveness as an industrial destination of choice.

The ELIDZ STP is the only park of its kind in the country which is linked to an IDZ and was conceived as a catalyst for growth, collaboration, incubation and the application of innovations for the high technology sector.

“By locating it within ELIDZ we are increasing the competitive and comparative advantage of this IDZ. This will be done through the creation of research and networking infrastructures and by attracting appropriate funding and resources, with the ultimate goal of developing innovations that can leverage a company’s competiveness,” ELIDZ CEO Simphiwe Kondlo explains.

“Science parks are becoming a very important part of the economic landscape – globally the biggest growth of these parks is seen in countries like China, Russia and Brazil which integrate them with industrial developments. It is no co-incidence that these countries are showing strong economic growth,” he said.

The ELIDZ STP is designed as an attractive, functional and interactive space to encourage the exchange of ideas and facilitate the development of creative technical solutions to problems. Its services include a variety of laboratory facilities, training platforms, an open innovation platform, networking solutions, as well as incubator services.

“The ELIDZ STP is ultimately about finding innovative solutions and getting these to a place where they are ready to be commercialised or implemented,” explained Kondlo. “We aim to get an idea to a stage where the innovator can either sell their technology or where they can get the financing to start a factory or industry within the ELIDZ,” he said.

“Collaboration is at the very core of what we do and we are linked to the International Association of Science Parks (IASP), which gives us networking capabilities with almost every globally recognised science park,” said Kondlo, adding that this opens up vast opportunities to find solutions and ensure that innovations developed within the ELIDZ STP are talked about.

Most of the ELIDZ STP initial projects have reached completion and are operational with some having started to generate revenue.