Set to open in December, Makers Landing at the V&A Waterfront has been conceptualized as an incubator for businesses in the food industry, featuring a market, eateries, and food and beverage producers. The new market space will be a food community that champions small business development and skills sharing between food experts and entrepreneurs that are just starting out.

V&A Waterfront CEO David Green said: “Maker’s Landing will be an inspiring, edgy space for new food concepts and ideas to flourish in the spectacular setting of an active port, with its dramatic backdrop of Table Mountain. It will capture the rich story of South African cultures, foods, flavours and food producers for locals to enjoy and for visitors to discover. We are repurposing what was a cold storage facility into a food incubator that will generate in excess of 150 much needed jobs and will build connections between foodpreneurs.”

The new development will add a further 4,348m2 to the existing cruise terminal, greeting cruise ship passengers with a state-of-the-art facility and sensational, inventive food. However, it won’t just be aimed at tourists. The R63-million multi-use Makers Landing development will encourage year-round visits from locals. It’s within walking distance of the Silo District and a short water taxi ride from the CTICC.

According to Tinyiko Mageza, Executive Manager: Marketing at the V&A Waterfront, “This will be a place where people can meet, eat, drink, shop and work, as well as a platform where foodpreneurs can innovate, learn and grow their businesses within a local food community. Our table will extend to anyone who has a food story to tell or who simply delights in the South African food journey. We want to celebrate our diverse food heritage and culture, and we want to showcase good food created by real people with real stories to tell.”

“We came across this idea internationally, having seen the success of food incubators in providing food at accessible pricing and creating jobs. We are incubating opportunities on a platform that lends itself to year-round operation, offering food at very accessible prices, with the opportunity to turbo charge interest during peak tourism season when local and international visitors flock to the Western Cape,” says Green.

The V&A Waterfront has partnered with the National Treasury’s Jobs Fund for the development, who saw the potential for job creation and skills development. “Beyond showcasing South Africa’s incredible variety of cultural dishes and foods, we also see Makers Landing as a catalyst for creating employment, transferring skills through our planned incubator programme and nurturing and growing SMMEs. Small start-ups and suppliers of food will work alongside experienced players, and in this way, they will gain first-hand knowledge from watching and learning from them. We envisage that our SMMEs will at some point outgrow Makers Landing and they will 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,” Green said.

“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. Partnerships like this one demonstrate the immeasurable value of assembling the right partnership ecosystem, skills and resources.  It is these intangibles that are fundamental in equipping and empowering SMMEs to overcome hurdles to development while effectively accessing real market opportunities,” says Najwah Allies-Edries, Head of the Jobs Fund.

How to Apply

The V&A Waterfront is calling for applications from up-and-coming foodpreneurs. In addition to clear talent, the curators’ focus will be on authentic South African foods and diversity, quality and freshness, variety of flavours, ethical and local sourcing, and affordability and value. Anyone wanting further information about the space can download an application form here.

So what is the team looking for in applicants?  They will assess three major criteria – the applicant’s diversity goals and potential for job creation; whether the food is an authentic representation of South African heritage; and the sustainability strategy.

The SMMEs will be mentored through master classes and assigned industry mentors, and will undergo a six-month training curriculum. Entrepreneurs will be expected to stay for a minimum of 18 months and a maximum of 5 years. After the initial six months training, entrepreneurs will still have access to the shared kitchen facility, certain content, master classes and mentors, but at a different rental rate. As their businesses scale up, it will become more cost effective for them to have their own space.

How are Makers Landing tenants selected?

Applications will be assessed by a curatorial team of industry experts who are leaders in their sectors within the food landscape, together with representatives of the V&A Waterfront. The curatorial team is headed up by Hannerie Visser, the Founder of Studio H, and Andy Fenner, the owner of Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants. The panel also includes Emma Hosking and Kim Bloch (Co-Founders, Umthunzi Farming), Karen Dudley (Chef and Founder, The Kitchen), Vanie Padayachee (Head Chef, Sygnatur), Aubrey Ngcungama and Ian Manley (Co-Founders, BLACC), Ishay Govendor (Co-Founder, SA POC), Keletso Motau (Freelance food stylist), Lufefe Nomjana (Founder, The Spinach King), Ben Cox (Marketing Director, Neighbourgoods Market), and Russell Boltman (Co-Founder, Devils Peak)

“The idea for Makers Landing was always to democratise the tenanting process. By pulling together a curatorial panel that is mixed race, mixed gender and made up of a variety of respected professionals with differing cultural backgrounds, the idea is that the eventual tenant mix will be truly representative and authentic. It is about excellence, of course but it is also about significance. Every tenant will have a powerful story to tell and they will do it through food,” says Fenner.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic, this is even more important, as we are trying to create a place that is about rebuilding businesses and brands. It’s about fostering and nurturing young talent but it’s also about giving people a second chance. It needs to be a blueprint for an entire industry, as we try and put the pieces back together. The industry we love has been left on its knees and is looking for hope. We believe this project provides that,” he says.

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