Internet Solutions (IS) and First National Bank (FNB) have given their backing to Tech4Africa, the Internet and emerging technology conference, in their role as Foundation Partners and have committed to supporting the long-term development of home-grown technology solutions on the continent.
“From our earliest discussions with FNB and Internet Solutions it was evident that they share our values and vision for the future of Internet and mobile technologies on the continent,” says event organiser Gareth Knight. “The reality is that Africa is playing catch-up in these sectors and that this can only be overcome through collaborating with the best minds in the industry, locally and globally.
“Both partners bring tremendous value to the conference because of their appreciation for the way in which technology can and should be applied to drive economic prosperity in Africa, and have clearly demonstrated their skills in this sector.”
Knight points to Internet Solutions' position as a leading provider of Internet infrastructure across the continent. As the trusted partner in IP driven solutions, Internet Solutions enables their clients to be truly competitive in the global economy.
Company MD Derek Wilcocks says Internet Solutions' participation extends well beyond its support of the conference and providing connectivity to participants over the two days.
“We see the future of the Internet in the way people are able to collaborate. Social media is changing the way organisations work and providing opportunities for governments to interact with their citizens,” he says. “The conference topics are at the heart of the future of our industry and we want to be part of that learning experience and also contribute to that debate.
“For us, it's about more than the technology and technical ability, it’s about the impact that we as an organisation can have on people's lives,” he adds.
Knight says that FNB's role as an enabler of business and technology ideas is equally important and that the bank's participation at Tech4Africa will hopefully spur on more home-grown development.
“FNB has demonstrated a strong entrepreneurial edge and willingness to invest in the market through introducing technology-driven solutions such as PayPal and cellphone banking. In short, they are walking the talk, which other institutions are still struggling to achieve,” he says.
FNB Commercial’s head of small business sales, Marcel Klaassen, says FNB is continuously driven by innovation, which is based on a strong entrepreneurial spirit within the division.
“We recognise the role that technology, e-commerce and innovative banking solutions play in the entrepreneurial environment and are proud to facilitate knowledge sharing and international best practice trends in these areas,” he says. “We understand that the most difficult barriers for entrepreneurs to overcome is the lack of support and mentorship and have therefore tailored a business proposition around small businesses that address both their financial and non-financial needs. We look forward to engaging with existing and aspiring technology entrepreneurs.”
Tech4Africa will be featuring international and local technology visionaries including Clay Shirky, Leila Chirayath Janah, Jonathan Snook, John Resig and many others who will be sharing their knowledge and experiences. The conference is taking place on 12 and 13 August 2010 at The Forum in Bryanston, Johannesburg.