With youth unemployment at an incredibly high 43.5%, with few work opportunities for job seekers, Ladles of Love – a Food Security Non-Profit – has launched the Realise A Dream competition. Aimed at young food-producing entrepreneurs, the competition gives three lucky winners assistance to jump-start their new or existing businesses.

Young chefs, bakers and food artisans between the ages of 18 and 34 are encouraged to enter by completing the entry form online and submitting a 1 – 2 minute WhatsApp video that describes the business and introduces the entrepreneur. The top 10 will be coached by business professionals to perfect their pitch for the judges at the V&A Makers Landing food incubation hub, which is currently calling for applications.

Respected local food experts and well-known chefs from the judging panel including 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 bread. 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 and top chef, Mokgadi Itsweng.

Ten top finalists will be selected and will face the judges on the 16 June 2021. 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.

“Although there are only 3 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.

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 much 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 a R200.00 donation or a corporate SED investment, partnerships can be tailored to support this fund and the Realise A Dream young food entrepreneurs competition.

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.”