From 3D-printing, industrial prototyping to robotics - this is just some of the technology you will find being developed and pushed to new limits at the Isuzu Industrial Hub, situated at the Propella Business Incubator in Port Elizabeth.
Isuzu Motors South Africa today announced its alliance with the Propella Business Centre through an investment into the industrial hub over the next three years. Named the Isuzu Industrial Hub, the centre champions disruptive technology and innovation in the advanced manufacturing sector.
Isuzu's Executive: Corporate Affairs, Denise van Huyssteen, said this support would be directed at the development of innovative projects within the industrial hub. "Since the launch of Isuzu Motors South Africa in January this year, the company has been focused on building a sustainable business for the long-term. Developing meaningful and impactful partnerships which positively impact the community, forms a critical part of this strategy,
"We are only just over six months into our new journey and we are already thinking about how we can be different, how we can offer alternative creative and innovative solutions and at the same time how we can be part of the transformation and growth of the economy. And as we look at the community around us, we want to find ways of making a difference by truly empowering people. Propella thinks like this too - which makes them an ideal partner for us," said Van Huyssteen.
Propella Business Incubation Manager Anita Palmer said Propella was delighted to have such a strong association with Isuzu Motors South Africa, welcoming the company's investment into industrial innovation in the Metro.
"We are always on the look-out for catalytic projects that can contribute to the competitiveness of the local economy and support job creation. Through the development of appropriate technologies and providing the right type of infrastructure to entrepreneurs, we support innovative solutions and access to market that is crucial to the success of a business," Palmer said.
The Isuzu Industrial Hub is open for applications all year round - subject to pre-screening assessments. Applicants can either be virtually incubated, or physically incubated at the hub. The programme lasts three years and the incubatees are assigned "moaches" (a combination of a mentor and a coach), as well as an advisory board.
As part of the new partnership agreement, five of Isuzu Motors South Africa's black automotive component suppliers will also benefit from virtual incubation support provided by Propella, ranging from mentoring to business development assistance.
Isuzu has also donated an Isuzu bakkie to Propella, which will be used for industry visits by Propella staff as well as the transportation of materials as needed.
"The vehicle will make it possible for us to onboard new projects like a smart city vertical Urban Farm as the vehicle would be utilised to take product to market and will essentially enable us to develop a business-in-a-box concept," said Palmer.
The overarching vision of Propella is to create a Smart Hi-Tech Incubator for a Smart City. Propella supports specific advanced manufacturing and energy sectors, industry cluster development and supply chain optimisation.
Propella also received robotic welding cells donated by industry in order to assist with developing technical incubatees for supplying component parts into the local automotive and engineering sectors.