The ERLN held a learning event on 13-14 March 2014. The event was hosted by the City of Tshwane and The Innovation Hub. Benjamin Manasoe, from the City of Tshwane’s Department of Economic Development, welcomed all to the event and provided an outline of the City of Tshwane's three focus areas and the six economic sectors it prioritizes. Innovation Hub CEO, McClean Sibanda welcomed all to the Innovation Hub specifically and outlined the range of services that The Innovation Hub offers. Thereafter an update on the ERLN programme was given by Government Technical Advisory Centre Principal Technical Advisor for Economic Development, Dhiresh Ramklass. Attendees were asked to "prepare to think creatively!".
They were introduced to the creative methods (such as graphic harvesting, creative facilitation methods and neuroscience evidence about adult learning) that would be utilised to make the session an alive and engaging one. To set the tone, Professor Raphael Kaplinsky from the Open University provided a keynote address on “What are Global Value Chains, Where are they Going and Why is this important?” Thereafter there was a group discussion to explore what the keynote address had raised for attendees. Next, Kate Philip introduced a session on clusters by providing context. A video which focussed on cluster organisations in the Western Cape was shown. Nigel Gwynne-Evans, Chief Director in the Western Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism then described lessons learned from 20 years of economic development in the Western Cape with specific reference to cluster development initiatives. Tswaledi Mashiane, Deputy Director of Regional Industrial Clusters at the Department of Trade and Industry provided an input on the dti’s approach to cluster support. Stieneke Samuel DTI Chief Director spoke about cluster development as an important platform for driving regional economic and industrial development. Delegates then received a briefing about the Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC): Ford Incubation Centre, afterwhich a site visit to the centre was made. On day two, there was a World Café on Clusters and Value Chains in which attendees could explore their own questions and curiosities. Experts and resource people were allocated to cafe tables as hosts, and participants could choose two of the five tables for discussions. Finally, the learning network event wrapped up with a discussion to identify other priority issues and themes for future ERLN events.