With the hospitality and tourism industry shedding jobs due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and a number of lockdowns on the South African economy, Bergzicht Training and Development established the Street Food Vendor Programme to assist alumni in the industry that have lost their jobs to start micro businesses and diversify their hospitality skills. Post-pandemic the programme will continue to benefit seasonal hospitality employees.

The programme is funded by the TK Foundation and the Hanns Seidel Foundation and provides 18 alumni with the opportunity to participate in the programme in 2021 and 2022. As part of their training, participants spend two days per week for six weeks acquiring valuable business knowledge and skills at Bergzicht Training and Development to set up micro businesses, as well as practical skills at Bergzicht Training and Development’s street vendor food cart at the CoCreate Hub in Stellenbosch. The CoCreate Hub is a “gathering space that nurtures the vibrant entrepreneurial spirit [in Stellenbosch] – and offers residents and visitors to the town the opportunity to buy local, eat local and connect local”.

According to Renske Minnaar, CEO of Bergzicht Training and Development, “the crisis in the hospitality industry led to Bergzicht Training and Development making a decision to establish the programme as one of its strategic goals to assist unemployed alumni with setting up micro businesses”.

The modules offered in the programme range from business skills to costing, packaging, customer service, market research and practical cooking.

“We have just completed our first programme in which six students participated, with the other 12 to be trained next year. We selected them from our recently qualified Food Service Assistant Programme graduates and alumni,” adds Minnaar.

“Students do their practical training at the CoCreate Hub at our Bergzicht Training and Development street food vendor cart, gaining experience in preparing food, and working with customers. This hopefully will inspire a few students to be confident enough to start their own stall in their community and earn an additional income. Some might even find jobs doing seasonal work, but ultimately, we want to provide basic and useful skills that allow students to earn an additional income.

Minnaar says that while it is vital to equip students with business knowledge and skills, it is equally important to provide them with the basic items they will need to start their business after their training.

“We therefore provide students with basic cooking utensils and dry food products worth R1 600 at graduation. This gesture does not only inspire them to start their entrepreneurial journey but gives them a means to get started. All entrepreneurs need a small boost to begin, so if any of our graduates are inspired to become street food vendors after this programme, they can do it.”

MAIN PHOTO: Ms Jeanneret Momberg, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Visit Stellenbosch, visits Bergzicht Training and Development’s street food vendor cart at the CoCreate Hub in Stellenbosch. With her is alumna Evodia Dempers who is gaining valuable experience every day by preparing food for entrepreneurs who have businesses at the hub and those who participate in training there as well as patrons that visit to view and purchase entrepreneurs’ products.

PHOTO 2: Alumna Noxolo Klaas completed her practical training at Bergzicht Training and Development’s street food vendor cart at the CoCreate Hub in Stellenbosch.

PHOTO 3: Alumna Noxie …. also completed her practical training of Bergzicht Training and Development’s Street Food Vendor Programme at the CoCreate Hub in Stellenbosch.

PHOTO 4: The first group to finish the Street Food Vendor Programme at Bergzicht Training and Development were (from the left) Layken Hendricks, Janille Martin, Jane Adams, Nonelwa Zonele and Keneoe Magwaca. Andiswa Tom also completed the programme but was absent on the day of the photo.