Recently, the food entrepreneurs that took part in the first incubation hub at Makers Landing celebrated their graduation (you can read more about the initiative here). We chatted with four of the graduates to find out their highlights, biggest lessons and how their relationship with their food business has changed since.

Jane Nshuti | Tamu by Jane

Makers Landing JaneThe Rwanda-born entrepreneur was first exposed to plant-based cuisine while she lived with her uncle in Kenya.  It was here that she became a 7th day Adventist, a religion that places emphasis on personal health and she began cooking vegan cuisine for her family members and friends. She now has a growing social media following featuring her creative, healthy and delicious food, and she strives to influence a culture of healthy eating through plant-based foods.

How has your relationship with your business and/or food changed since being in the Incubator Hub? I’m a creative. Mostly, I dreaded the administrative and financial aspects of my business. But after the program, I’ve come to understand how critical these aspects are to any growing business. We were given tools to help create a system that will make our work easier and so far, I feel like I’m holistically more in tune with all that’s taking place in my business.

Makers Landing JaneWhat was your biggest learning? The right costing is the game changer for any business, especially food.

What was your most memorable highlight?  Definitely graduation, standing in front of all those people and sharing my goals and dreams was both scary, but exciting at the same time and definitely worth remembering.

Where to from here? I’ve started with my African food experiences, a pop-up restaurant in Woodstock Wex1 building, Woodstock exchange and we will be hosting these twice a month. We will also be hosting African cooking classes once a month. My goal is to see the world not only becoming aware of African cuisine but also falling in love with it.

Charmaine Govender-Koen | Charm’s Kitchen

Makers Landing Charm's KitchenWith a natural talent for flavours and a background in hospitality management, Charmaine has gone back to her roots and introduced a range of home cooked fresh and frozen meals influenced by her Durban Indian heritage. Makers Landing Charm's Kitchen

What was your biggest learning? For me it was to understand every single cost in the business. Having done this, I ensured all the recipes are followed accurately, and made relationships with suppliers to get the best ingredients at reasonable prices. Trying to reduce waste and ordering accurately was also very important.

What was your most memorable highlight? Creating a convenient range of ready to eat meals, especially during covid which was a definite need during this time.

Where to from here? I’m starting an online store which will be up shortly and looking to get into independent deli’s and stores.

Faieez “Fuzzy” Alexander | Fuzzy’s Foods

Makers Landing Fuzzy’s FoodsFaieez pivoted into selling koesisters to support his family during the pandemic, and on a whim, he entered Vannie Kaap and KFM Radio’s koesister competition and was crowned the World Koesister Champion! He now has a stand at Makers Landing and eventually hopes to sell his finished and frozen product into retail and foodservice.

Makers Landing Fuzzy foodsHow has your relationship with your business and/or food changed since being in the Incubator Hub? After and even during the Incubator Programme, I started viewing my business differently and with more scrutiny, especially the accounting side and supplier relationship building. I also looked at how to offer up my Koesister differently and was assisted by Chef Jen and developed the fresh frozen ready-to-eat koesisters, which is absolutely perfect for the retail market and a great way of fulfilling my vision of making my Koesister available to everyone.

What was your biggest learning? How to manage your finances and costing of your product, so that you don’t sell yourself short.

Where to from here? Get my boxes ready for my fresh frozen ready-to-eat koesisters and start the journey of making it into the retail and hospitality market, provincially and then nationally.

Cikizwa Galela | Ciki Graceland Café

Makers Landing Ciki KitchenCiki developed a passion for cooking as a young girl when she made dishes for her friends in her hometown of Langa, Cape Town. Today, she has a growing catering business, offering beautifully presented, flavour-focused traditional dishes to government and corporate events, weddings and funerals. She aims to serve the community around her by turning her home kitchen into a family-oriented eatery.

How has your relationship with your business and/or food changed since being in the Incubator Hub? The business has grown in an amazing way, especially in terms of client base. I used to offer everything, but today my theme focus is an African Traditional Xhosa Cuisine. The family combos on Fridays have contributed in the growth of my business.Makers Landing Ciki Kitchen

What was your biggest learning? My biggest learning was how to run a business in an effective manner. I have learnt how to put systems in place to help grow revenue, sales and costing, and building partnerships that will advance my business to the next level.

What was your most memorable highlight? Revamping my brand and the support from my mentor, the Makers Landing Team and my colleagues.

Where to from here? Before my graduation I partnered with a Bed and Breakfast accommodation place to supply cooked meals, but I’ve since expanded. From the beginning of July, I opened an African Food stall in Wynberg Maynard Mall and I look forward to growing the business to another level.