V&A Waterfront and Treasury's Jobs Fund launch R63-million 'incubator' for food businesses

An artist's impression of Makers Landing in the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town (Supplied)
An artist's impression of Makers Landing in the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town (Supplied)
  • Cape Town's V&A Waterfront, together with Treasury's Jobs Fund, are working together to create opportunities in the food industry. 
  • Makers Landing, as it is called, will be part of the Cape Town Cruise Terminal area. 
  • It will repurpose a cold storage facility and aims to create jobs and showcase local foods, flavours and cultures while creating jobs. 


The V&A Waterfront in Cape Town on Wednesday announced a R63-million investment in partnership with National Treasury's Jobs Fund to create opportunities in the food industry.

Makers Landing will open to the public in December 2020.

The aim is to create a local food community incubator, Makers Landing, as part of the next phase of an overarching plan by the V&A Waterfront to develop the Cape Town Cruise Terminal area. When it is complete, Makers Landing will add a further 4 348m² to the existing cruise terminal developed by the Waterfront in 2015 for Transnet.

The original terminal was a small industrial building that served as a pre-cooling facility for fruit exports. Makers Landing will retain the existing structure that dates back to the 1920s and its original harbour warehouse aesthetic. The building is only 15 meters from the quay edge and glass windows will allow visitors to restaurants watch ships enter and leave the harbour and cruise ships dock at the quayside in front of them.

Beyond showcasing South Africa's variety of cultural dishes and foods, the aim is for Makers Landing to be a catalyst for creating employment, transferring skills through the planned incubator programme and nurturing SMMEs.

"Makers Landing 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'," V&A Waterfront CEO David Green says in a statement.

"We came across this idea internationally, having seen the success of food incubators in providing food at accessible pricing and creating jobs."

Given the seasonality of the cruise industry - which currently is still not permitted under SA's coronavirus lockdown regulations - the multi-use Makers Landing development will encourage year-round activity in the port area.

The new facility is within walking distance from the Waterfront's Silo District and a short water taxi ride from the Cape Town Convention Centre.

In the view of Najwah Allie-Edries, head of the Jobs Fund, 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. In a statement, Allie-Edries said:

"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."

The V&A Waterfront is calling for applications from small food businesses, entry-level to top chefs, food producers "and everyone in between". 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.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, it was estimated that a cruise ship carrying about 2 000 passengers results in spending to the value of approximately R2 million per day at a destination, Alderman James Vos, Cape Town's Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, said in November last year.

At the time, the City of Cape Town was actively working to promote the Mother City as the top cruise destination on the continent. SA's peak cruise season was usually from October to April and offered international cruise companies an alternative during the cold winter season in the Northern Hemisphere.

In May this year, Growthpoint Properties, which owns the V&A Waterfront, said the Waterfront is significantly impacted by Covid-19, considering some 66% of its net property income comes from the retail and hotel sectors. Growthpoint said the V&A Waterfront is heavily dependent on foreign tourists who accounted for 50% of sales at retail outlets and 80% of hotel occupancies in the past.

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