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about us

Innovate Durban is a non-profit company set up as a special purpose vehicle to support and drive innovation in the region through our innovation support programmes, capacity building and research.


Innovate Durban will nurture, coordinate and facilitate an inclusive innovation ecosystem through utilising the 4th industrial revolution for economic growth and job creation, with a focus on industry, spatially excluded or marginalised persons, the public sector and SMMEs.


Our vision is to be a leading innovation agency that transforms the region into a dynamic and inclusive ecosystem.


The mission is expanded into the following objectives:

Create momentum for, and drive projects and programs in the city that innovatively tackle social, system and structure issues that hinder growth and perpetuate poverty.
Collaborate with and connect stakeholders from all spheres to work together to 'disrupt' thinking and practice and create new opportunities for active participation by all in growth and renewal.
Connect those in need with real opportunity, by providing, inter alia, practical tools and training, access to resources and support for self-improvement, business start-ups and community-building and upliftment.
Celebrate the city of Durban, promote all that it has done and will do for its citizens, to attract, retain and support the business and investors needed to underpin growth and development.


Professor Deresh Ramjugernath (Deputy Vice-Chancellor - UKZN)
Ms Palesa Phili (CEO - Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry)
Dr Anitha Ramsuran (Acting GM: Inclusive, Innovation, Youth and Skills - Technology Innovation Agency)
Ms Charlotte Mashaba (Regional Manager of Technology Transfer - UKZN)
Mr Richard Gevers (Founder and CEO - Open Cities Lab)


Chief Executive Officer : Ms Aurelia Albert

Innovation Co-Lab Lead: Ms Amy Benn
Programme Lead: Ms Susanne Ramsunder
Junior Project Coordinator: Mr Sakhiwo Rewu
Finance and Project Coordinator : Ms Nosipho Radebe
Project Administrator : Ms Lindelwa Cele
Administrator : Ms Zanele Masango
Stakeholder Coordinator and PA to the Executive: Ms Chantelle Hickley

Interns: (Ms Alusizo Tshakatshela; Mr Holden Chetty, Ms Nomzamo Shozi)


Programme Areas:

Programme Area 1: Innovation Support
Youth Innovation Challenge
Start Up Support Programme
Innovator Support Programme
Innovator Support Fund
Pitching Den
Open Exchange

Programme Area 2: Capacity Building and Skills Development
Digital Literacy
Future Skills
Design Thinking Workshops and Sprints

Programme Area 3: Research
Innovation Publication
Ecosystem Map
Funding Map
Thought Leadership


Physical - Innovation Co-Lab
Virtual - Innovation Portal


Innovation Festival Durban