The Saldanha Bay Innovation Campus uses webinars and podcasts to stimulate discussion and promote knowledge sharing among the Maritime and Energy sectors. These sessions focus on rethinking the future of the marine and energy sectors, unlocking opportunities and solving industry challenges through innovation, clustering, and collaboration.
The Saldanha Bay Innovation Campus hosted two webinars in 2021, with several more planned for this year.
Our first webinar delved into clustering and collaboration by providing multiple perspectives on co-creation and clustering from thought leaders within the fields of mining, renewable energy, maritime, and ocean technology.
The webinar focused on the importance of creating an ecosystem of industry players—including start-ups, corporate partners, communities and mentors committed to problem-solving and working collaboratively to disrupt the status quo.
Participants included the Buffalo City Maritime Cluster, GreenCape, a sector development agency supporting the advancement of the green economy in the Western Cape, GCE Ocean Technology, and the Mandela Mining Precinct.
Establishing a Maritime and Energy cluster allows various entities in academia, industry, government and the community to connect and collaborate. Together, they can find innovative solutions to issues, which is at the heart of this ecosystem’s growth. Building this ecosystem is one of the most critical tasks facing the Innovation Campus.
Clusters serve to re-activate industries and must be purpose-driven. For example, one of the Buffalo City Maritime Cluster goals was to strengthen and promote new entrants into the maritime sector through SMME development. In this way, it could transform the community through socio-economic initiatives and shared prosperity.
According to GCE Ocean Technology, companies within a cluster show a 10% higher value creation, 40% higher sales, and 7.5% more employees than an equivalent company outside the cluster.
Our second webinar was an industry workshop session with stakeholders to prioritise industry challenges and outline solutions. Parallel breakout sessions focused on four main categories:
b) Research, Development and Innovation,
c) Workforce and Skills, and
d) Infrastructure, Government, and Funding.
These challenges form part of the ongoing innovation programmes designed and run by the Innovation Campus, together with industry, during the year in our collective effort to solve our challenges.
We also released podcasts—Innovate the Blue Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3—sharing updates on innovations in local and global energy and maritime industries and highlighting technology processes, and social innovations that are driving the industry.
We know that innovation, clustering and collaboration play a critical role in the immediate pandemic crisis response and the long-term path towards a sustainable future for the energy and maritime industries in South Africa.