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Food lab incubator programme helps SMEs

V&A Waterfront, Job Fun inject R63m in support

Entrepreneurs who took part in the food lab incubator programme in Cape Town are eager to use the knowledge they learned to expand their businesses.
Entrepreneurs who took part in the food lab incubator programme in Cape Town are eager to use the knowledge they learned to expand their businesses.
Image: Vukuzenzele

A food lab incubator programme that mentors small businesses is opening doors to more women in the restaurant industry and helps to create jobs.

The National Treasury Job Fund initiative is run in collaboration with the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, Western Cape.

About 20 small businesses enrolled in the five-month mentorship programme and participating businesses were given space at the Makers Landing within Cape Town Cruise Terminal.

Total financial support from the Job Fund and V&A is totalling R63m.

Makers Landing is an industrial, repurposed space within the terminal for food traders to market and sell their cuisine.

The programme offered kitchen incubator space, where local food entrepreneurs could innovate, learn and grow their businesses within the local food community.

Aneeqa Sadan, owner of Cookie Jar Co, which specialises in cakes, says the finances of her business have improved since enrolling in the programme.

“I have learnt to manage the finances of my business better and how to make the most out of my social media platforms and use it to maximise advertising for my business,” she says. 

Nabo Binase and Lipato Shogole co-own the African-inspired Ukutya Restaurant.

The programme has helped them improve their record-keeping and operational systems.

“We have learnt the importance of data collection and having systems in place to ensure smooth operations. We are developing a website. We have now also started to record our sales and to record our business data such as customer lists and prospective collaborators, budgets and plans.”

Najwah Allies-Edries, head of the Job Fund, says the V&A Waterfront provides a perfect environment for caterers, local producers and quality food start-ups to grow their businesses efficiently and easily under the guidance of seasoned professionals in an already highly successful commercial space.

“A partnership like this demonstrates the immeasurable value of assembling the right partnership ecosystem, skills, and resources,” Allies-Edries says.

David Green, V&A Waterfront CEO, says beyond showcasing SA’s incredible variety of cultural dishes and foods, the programme helps to nurture and grow small businesses whose operators gain “first-hand knowledge by working alongside experienced players”.

*Jobs Fund co-finances projects by public, private, and non-governmental organisations to contribute to job creation. It allocates grant funding through a competitive, one stage process.

– This article first appeared in GCIS's Vuk'Uzenzele

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