In a further effort to lower barriers to entry into the UK for South African start-ups, the Cape Information Technology Initiative (CITI) said last week it had formed a partnership with GorillaPark, Europe’s largest privately held incubator and business accelerator. GorillaPark is a shareholder and part owner of Tornado Insider, a media company aimed at helping entrepreneurs, investors and service providers succeed in Europe’s high-tech economy. CITI, the not-for-profit promotion agency for the ICT industry in the Western Cape, said the partnership was strategically fitting as the GorillaPark incubator model was developed around the same principles and objectives as that of CITI, this being to foster the development of ICT start ups and grow entrepreneurship.

Based in the heart of London’s financial district, GorillaPark operates as a full service incubator, offering extensive reach into both Europe and the US. Established in 2000, it has not only weathered the ICT industry downturn following the dot com crash but has proven its long-term sustainability, with incubators also in Amsterdam, Munich, and Gent. CITI Marketing Manager, Judith Middleton said: "In partnering with GorillaPark, CITI is able to offer its tenants and members the opportune platform for expansion into the UK and European market as well as support UK companies looking to do business in South Africa."

She said CITI is now able to facilitate a cost-effective means for local start-ups to both explore new markets, and showcase their successes abroad. "In promoting the skills and rapid development of the South African ICT sector, CITI also hopes to attract further investment from UK venture capitalists and funders into local companies looking to expand abroad," Middleton said.

GorillaPark Alliance Manager, Anthony Carnell, said: "The alliance with CITI is a keenly sought first move for GorillaPark in the Southern Hemisphere. Through this alliance we are able to access a booming IT market in South Africa, a ‘hotspot’ according to the DTI in London."