Entréepreneurship’ on the menu at Makers Landing

Applications have opened for entrepreneurs wanting to take part in a “kitchen incubator” programme at the V&A Waterfront.

Food is big business in Cape Town, but start-ups can find it hard getting their piece of the pie – the Makers Landing Food Lab incubation programme being launched at the V&A Waterfront plans to change that.

Billed as a “kitchen incubator”, the programme will give entrepreneurs access to a commercial kitchen while teaching them the fundamentals of building a business and giving them insights into the food industry.

The kitchen incubator will be the cornerstone of Makers Landing, which opens at the V&A Waterfront later this year, but there will also be a kitchen studio and event space, market stalls and eateries.

The programme, in partnership with the National Treasury’s Jobs Fund, will offer opportunities to small food businesses. Applicants should have a food business that has been running for less than three years.

Makers Landing project leader Westleigh Wilkinson said entrepreneurs would be nurtured by successful food industry mentors.

“By matching natural creativity and passion for food with knowledge and new skills gained, our entrepreneurs will be better prepared for success in what is a tough and competitive industry.”

The programme is made up of six-month modules – comprising online and in-class learning as well as individual assignments. Stellenbosch University’s LaunchLab and industry experts developed the content. The curriculum will include modules covering food safety, product development, marketing, sales, operations, finance and more.

Waterfront CEO David Green said entrepreneurs would have access to a commercial kitchen, allowing them to take a product or an idea and produce it to scale.

“At Makers Landing, there will also be a food market, so they will also be able to test these products or food ideas out with a real audience.”

Promising candidates will be interviewed by the Makers Landing team and an advisory committee of industry professionals.

As businesses move from pre-incubation to incubation and onto graduation, so the programme will make way for the next group of candidates to be admitted.

“The idea is that a pipeline will be created for these food businesses to get started in a supportive environment, and to eventually – with the knowledge gained – move to larger operations, and possibly even their own brick and mortar restaurants,” said Mr Green.

Full details about the fees, which have been discounted by the Jobs Fund and the Waterfront, and other requirements are available on the Waterfront’s website. There are also opportunities for organisations and individuals to get involved in the running of the programme.

Visit www.waterfront.co.za for more information or click here to apply.

Applications for the first cohort close on Friday October 23.