On 12 July 2016, Johannesburg Executive Mayor, Councellor Parks Tau unveiled the first shipping container micro-mall developed by the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) Resolution Circle in Ivory Park. The micro-mall initiative aims to break down barriers into the metropolitan’s economy for entrepreneurs and community-based enterprises, by establishing a new kind of township business incubator, using shipping containers and temporary structures in innovative ways.
The Micro-Mall model is an initiative by the City of Johannesburg, in partnership with UJ as part of the JoziMyBeginning Community Innovation Fund (CIF), which is an extension of Jozi@Work, designed to empower community-based enterprises.
The event followed a lengthy process of proof of concept by Resolution Circle, the technology company of UJ. Resolution Circle implements initiatives of the JoziMyBeginning Community Innovation Fund.
“The Ivory Park Micro-Mall is a container facility that will see township businesses in the services, retail and manufacturing sectors incubated to develop into sustainable operations. The site of the micro-mall is owned by 61 local community members who have been given equity in the development,” Mayor Tau said.
Up to 20 township businesses are expected to be incubated in the new Ivory Park Micro-Mall, and these will be supported by the City’s JoziMyBeginning Community Innovation Fund and the youth initiative, Vulindlel’eJozi programme. These community enterprises are also set to receive support from corporates.
The Ivory Park Micro-Mall contains a computer training centre and common facilities for all the businesses.
“It is designed to operate totally off-grid with respect to electricity, and has a minimal reliance on the local water system,” he said.