The V&A Waterfront celebrated the first anniversary of its Makers Landing food hub by celebrating eight new food businesses that they educated this year.
Makers Landing is a space where food talent is recognised, nurtured, supported and ultimately showcased. In total, Makers Landing represents a R63-million investment with R48-million coming from the V&A Waterfront in partnership with the National Treasury’s Jobs Fund, which invested a further R15-million.
“About four years ago we asked the question about how we could unlock opportunity within the food eco system but we were very conscious that the food ecosystem was not accessible to all and was not open to all communities. We were also conscious of the diversity of the culinary experiences in Cape Town and we conceived this project of Makers Landing,” said David Green, V&A Waterfront CEO.
“People may have an idea for a food product, for a restaurant and they may have done something on a small scale but where the real gap was, was how to bridge that to skill production, let’s say how do we get their product to a supermarket chain. So this is what the cohort programme does, it’s a six month programme that equips them with all sorts of disciplines and skills needed. So Makers Landing is the food incubator and it allows them to popup with their restaurant idea or food product idea and eventually we want them to get to scale.”
One of the graduates is Nafeesa Arendse who runs the Wrapper Co. Her business which is focused on “reinventing what food wraps can be”, has seen sales increase by over 800% and she is poised to further expand her business by hiring part-time staff in January 2022.
“I am so grateful to be afforded mentorship by professionals that will help me grow as a person while I upscale my business. Makers Landing is all about sharing with one another and we don’t just share food. We share life experiences, we share space, and our knowledge with one another,” said Ms Arendse, from Strandfontein.
Another graduate, Thabisho Sechogela from Kasi Kuisine, says he is adding a new perspective to traditional foods by adding cream to the traditional samp and beans dish and grilling chicken in an umqombothi basting. Mr Sechogela says the programme was beneficial to his entrepreneurial journey.
“The incubator programme helped me allot. They gave me the support that I needed because as an entrepreneur we need support. I hate working with numbers but through this programme I saw the benefits of doing admin and now I have a clearer goal of how to run my business,” said the Mfuleni-based chef.
Elmarie Rosochacki makes premium retail sweet treats, nougat, biscotti, and panforte using local, organic ingredients. Her business is aptly named Mondvol Soet (A Mouthful of Sweetness).
“It was a positive experience and it was great to be able to use a professional kitchen and it was beneficial to have the skills that were offered to us. Also the people in this programme were amazing, we all on the same level of growth with different products and we supported each other. Makers Landing is a diverse space and we are now part of a food community so that’s another plus,” said Ms Rosochacki, from Hout Bay.
With the platform established for small food businesses to operate in, Mr Green hopes that they will grow beyond the Makers Landing kitchen.
“Our dream is for our SMMEs to excel to the point where they outgrow Makers Landing and leave to open their own eateries or work elsewhere – in the Waterfront, the city, the country, or even overseas, and their places will be filled by new talent looking for a start in the industry,” Mr Green added.