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Upcoming early-stage food entrepreneurs combat critical food security, malnutrition and waste issues.

Nomvuyo’s ‘Ukuphumla Garden’’ at Vukukhanye Primary offers fresh food produce in exchange for recyclable waste, not only addressing food insecurity in her local community but also combating the negative effects of poor plastic disposal and pollution. Nomvuyo Ntantala is a past Alumni that found mentorship through Oribi’s past food systems incubation programme.

Oribi has recently announced an Open Call for its  latest incubation programme in partnership with AfriFOODLinks, which is dedicated to nurturing the next generation of early-stage food entrepreneurs, with a particular focus on empowering young women from marginalised communities. The application process will remain open until 18 April and early-stage food entrepreneurs from Cape Town are encouraged to apply.

“Food businesses offer immense opportunities for social enterprises,” says Nomvuyo. “They should not solely focus on profit but rather on the value they bring to their community, whether it’s on a social, environmental, or spiritual level. Food insecurity plagues many townships in South Africa, but I firmly believe that no one needs to go hungry. Bartering, a practice deeply rooted in our African identity, can be a powerful tool for addressing both malnutrition and waste.”

Now that Nomvuyo operates a fully sustainable venture, her vision extends to expanding the garden, utilising recycled materials for furniture and art, and establishing additional agricultural operations to benefit her community. Driven by her passion for entrepreneurship, Nomvuyo mentors young female entrepreneurs within Oribi’s Girls in Business Programme, empowering them to discover and pursue their passions for entrepreneurship. Her philosophy centres on nurturing self-respect and community assets, which she believes are abundant in townships and hold the potential to foster a sense of belonging and connection among residents.

Oribi’s incubation programme with AfriFOODLinks will welcome early-stage entrepreneurs, like Nomvuyo, who aspire to create a more sustainable food supply chain through their work. In understanding the challenges within the food and agricultural sectors, Oribi is looking to support practices that promote regenerative agriculture, circular waste management systems, access to healthy and nutritious food, food justice projects, and agricultural innovation. 

“At its core, this incubation programme aims to foster awareness on the importance of social entrepreneurship in South Africa,” explains Tasneem Jhetam, Programmes and Innovation Lead at Oribi. “By working together, we will showcase how social entrepreneurship can reignite our innate sense of community and solidarity as Africans. The solutions to malnutrition and hunger may be closer than we realise.”

Another inspiring figure in Oribi’s incubation programmes is Jade Orgill, a Human Development Specialist dedicated to combating food insecurity in the Western Cape. Through her social enterprise, ‘The Sprightly Seed’, Jade establishes food gardens in schools, emphasising sustainability and self-sufficiency.

Jade’s projects not only provide nutritious meals for children but also engage them in the process, fostering a deeper understanding of food production,nutrition, and regenerative agriculture. Her latest venture at Bel Porto School in Lansdowne embodies this approach, integrating ecosystems and community involvement with circular approaches such as composting and upcycling, to create a green, educational hub.

Through the AfriFOODlinks Incubation Programme, Oribi aims to continue its mission of purposeful matchmaking and collaborative growth for entrepreneurs like Nomvuyo and Jade.  Oribi will select enterprises that will not only focus on food security, but also regenerative agriculture and circular practices, like composting, materials recycling and upcycling. The Incubation Programme will offer selected entrepreneurs access to mentorship, coaching, networking opportunities, and grant funding.

For more information on Oribi and the AfriFOODlinks programme, visit: and the application link here.