Riversands Incubation Hub, a large scale business incubator near Fourways deals with emerging entrepreneurs all the time. Through this engagement and always with an eye to growing the local economy, the Riversands team realised that there is a huge pool of talented bakers working from home, making money inconsistently. As such, the business incubator created the Cookie Co-op platform to bridge the gap between formal sector clients (who often require volumes, reliability and quality) and emerging small entrepreneurs.

Essentially, the Cookie Co-op – launched in early 2017 – provides an opportunity for bakers largely within the Diepsloot community to professionalise their small businesses. Entrepreneurs in the Cookie Co-op benefit by operating from a professional kitchen while receiving help on accessing formal markets.  The co-operative model allows efficient buying of ingredients and fulfilment of bulk corporate orders. In addition, administrative help from the business incubator ensures that everything is correctly costed and invoiced and the revenue distributed equitably.

Diepsloot resident Mbali Mbatha is one of the bakers currently working at the Cookie Co-op.  She heard that the nearby incubator was cooking up a plan to help entrepreneurs like her reach new customers, learn new skills and bake in higher quantities. She signed up and has now has mastered the art of navigating an industrial kitchen, using professional equipment and baking according to stringent hygiene requirements. She is not looking for a job or a handout; she likes her independent status. But she’d also like to earn a higher and more consistent income.

“Since I’ve started at the Cookie Co-op, it’s been great,” said Mbatha. She added, “I’ve learned so much about how to make my business better.”

The Cookie Co-op has the capacity to produce cookie orders for corporate gifts, business meeting snacks, hotels and guest houses. The products are lovingly baked from fresh ingredients with no preservatives added. Best sellers include: Vanilla Drop, Choc Drop, Double Choc, Shortie, Chocolate Swirl, Lemon Melt, Double Choc and Coco Bite. Cookies may be individually wrapped and sealed for hygienic delivery.

By purchasing from the Cookie Co-Cop, one is basically supporting a talented entrepreneur and companies may also earn valuable BEE points through supporting small, black-owned enterprises – now that’s a sweet deal.

For those craving something sweet, orders can be placed from the Cookie Co-op by emailing cookies@riversandsihub.co.za

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