Food security non-profit organisation Ladles of Love recently launched its Realise A Dream (RAD) competition for young food-producing entrepreneurs. With prizes valued at over R500,000, three winners will receive assistance to jumpstart their new or existing businesses. Training, business support and capital equipment will be invested to help them realise their dream of starting or growing a food enterprise. Young chefs, bakers and food artisans between 18-34 years old with new or existing food businesses are invited to enter.
Local food experts and well-known chefs from the judging panel include Mokgadi Itsweng, Zola Nene and Woolworths Taste food director, Abigail Donnelly. “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 has to be food related, a product that can be packaged and sold. It can be anything from bottling vegan smoothies to smoking meats to baking breads. Our aim is to accelerate their businesses and help them successfully transition into the marketplace, and importantly show them how to make a positive impact in food security,” says Ladles of Love trustee Itsweng.
In order to win, contestants need to complete an entry form and a one to two minute WhatsApp video presentation detailing their business, product and dream. From there, 10 finalists will be chosen. They will be coached by business professionals to perfect their pitch for the judges at the V&A Makers Landing food business incubation hub.
Guidance and coaching
“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. The end goal is to address youth unemployment by providing all contestants with the best chance at realising their dream,” says Alison McCutcheon, marketing director at Ladles of Love.
Ten top finalists will be selected and will face the judges on the 16 June. The judges will assess their product innovation, business plan and feasibility. The three winners will work closely with their appointed industry mentors to accelerate their businesses.
Prizes include business and product incubation at the V&A Makers Landing, a subscription to Heavy Chefs education platform, Over The Rainbow brand identity development, PNA stationery vouchers, kitchen equipment and more.
The RAD competition is also an opportunity for individuals and corporates to invest in enterprise development by contributing to the Ladles of Love Social Enterprise Development programme. For as little as R200, partnerships can be tailored to support this fund and the Realise A Dream young food entrepreneurs competition.
Finding lasting solutions
Ladles of Love founder Danny Diliberto concludes: “Through our on-the-ground work at Ladles of Love, we have realised that the fight against hunger is so much more than providing nutritious meals. Finding lasting solutions means the community needs to be empowered and employed. So our skills development programmes have been created with this mind. We have already assisted, mentored and trained a 29-year-old baker, Mcebisi Zozo, who is set up for business and earning an income from his small bakery. The Realise A Dream competition is an extension of his success story. We want to help more youth with an interest in food to become self-sufficient in their own businesses. We call on businesses and corporates who are looking at ways to scale up their investment in our youth to invest in this programme. Your donation will be invested in the training, equipment and mentorship of young food entrepreneurs who are determined to be the best they can be. We believe that with the right will and focus, projects like RAD are one of best ways to respond to the challenge of youth unemployment in our country.”
For more information on how to enter, click here.