Cooking up business opportunities | News24

Pevita Lena
An arrow graph trend shaped R200  bank note. (Getty)

An arrow graph trend shaped R200 bank note. (Getty)

The youth unemployment rate remains a challenge in the country.

According to Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), unemployment among youth between the ages of 15 to 34 years stood at 46,3% in the first quarter of this year.

And their attempts to find work have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a quest to address some of the youth’s challenges as well as food security, Ladles of Love, a non-profit organisation (NPO), has launched the Realise a Dream (RAD) competition for young food-producing entrepreneurs.

The competition aims to help three young experienced local chefs or food artisans who dream of owning or growing their own business.

Alison McCutcheon, marketing director for the NPO, says: “We are looking for young food entrepreneurs who have a ‘yearn to earn’ and great business concepts. They may have a food business idea that they want to get off the ground or may have started a small business already. It must be food-related, a product that can be packaged and sold.”

Mokgadi Itsweng, Ladles of Love trustee and top chef, says they aim to accelerate their businesses and help them successfully transition into the marketplace, and show them how to make a positive impact in food security.

RAD offers winners upskill training opportunities in the food industry to gain a more competitive edge.

Ladles of Love founder Danny Diliberto says the competition which closed on Tuesday 1 June received over 50 entries.

McCutcheon explains that on Saturday 5 June, 10 finalists were chosen after they submitted their two-minute WhatsApp video detailing their business, product, and dream.

The 10 finalists are Miguel Blick (The Gourmet Collective), Thabisho Sechogela (Kasi Kusine), Bradwyn Joseph (Brad’s Kitchen), Genya Gluckman (Beulah), Natasha Eckard (Tashy’s Tasty Treats), Fazlin Isaacs (Gourmade it up), Tsholofelo Masango (TsgoloTheChef’s sweet desires), Claudine Bansigayeko (African foods), Keanu Johnston (Kaapstad chef) and Ghabeebah Cloete (Beescakes).

She says they have already assisted, mentored and trained a 29-year-old baker, Mcebisi Zozo. He is now earning an income from his small bakery.

McCutcheon says in the next phase of the competition, winners will be coached by business professionals to perfect their pitch for the judges at the V&A Waterfront Makers Landing food business incubation hub.

The 10 finalists will face the judges on Wednesday 16 June. The judges will assess their product innovation, business plan and feasibility.

From there, three winners will be chosen. McCutcheon says: “Although there are only three winners, we are committed to setting each finalist up for success.

“With each of them receiving the same guidance and coaching, they will all be on an equal playing field to pitch their product to the RAD judges and grow their business concepts and product offering.

With prizes valued at over R800 000, the three winners will receive assistance to jump-start their new or existing businesses.

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