As the DStv Delicious International Food & Music Festival prepares for another memorable outing later this year, the first cohort of 50 students who were enrolled in the Delicious Festival Trader Academy powered by FoodBev Manufacturing Seta have completed the six-month programme and are already reaping the fruits of their participation – using what they have learnt to create sustainable, profitable micro-businesses in the food and beverage sector. 

Last year, the festival, in partnership with Food and Beverages Manufacturing Sector Education and Training Authority (FoodBev Manufacturing Seta), introduced 50 SMMEs to the excitement and bustle of the DStv Delicious Festival, as a unique opportunity to gain real-world festival experience to complement several months of intensive training at the academy.

“The SMMEs received incredible practical work experience, and a unique behind-the-scenes look at how a festival of that nature works. It provided the spark for getting them excited and encouraging them to grow their businesses, to get up to the standard they would need to participate in a festival of that nature.” 

And the inaugural course was such a runaway success, says Jean Huddy, programme director of the Delicious Festival Trader Academy, that a new cohort of hospitality students is starting training in April through a partnership with the Culture, Arts, Tourism, Hospitality and Sport Sector Education and Training Authority (CATHSSETA).  

The aim: to upskill these go-getting food entrepreneurs from informal traders to owners of thriving formal micro-businesses that are ideally positioned for sustainability and growth. 

She says the students, during their time at the academy, learnt a lot about being in the food and hospitality sphere.

“They have taken away key learnings in terms of branding, entrepreneurship and costing to ensure their businesses are profitable. Plus, their branding on social media has increased both awareness and sales, which means their businesses can grow sustainably.” 

Some of the main challenges facing micro-entrepreneurs in the food sector are market access, costing and compliance with industry licensing standards. Thobile Sibeko from Tobs Wraps, based in Vosloorus in Gauteng, says she learnt so much that she revisited her business plan, adjusted her prices, managed to get listed on food delivery apps – and boosted her sales by 30% within the space of a week! 

“I feel incredibly proud that they’ve taken the learnings on board. Most of our students were operating at a loss because they didn’t know how to cost their menu items correctly. Just by learning the fundamentals of basic finance, they have changed their businesses from failing businesses that would have ultimately closed down to businesses that have a much better chance of succeeding. They are now able to go from strength to strength, increase their revenue and grow their businesses.” 

says Huddy

The SMMEs were ecstatic about being given the tools to take their micro-businesses to the next level.  

“This course has given me the courage and confidence to take my business to greater heights,”.  

said one student

“We hope that the SMMEs that are graduating take the initiative and learn from those experiences and develop products that they can get into retail markets and thereby increase the different revenue streams for themselves.” 

Huddy says

“It’s so important to encourage, support and uplift SMMEs and entrepreneurs, because they are the ones who are going to grow employment in our country – they are the employers of the future. So we are 100% backing them, supporting them and doing our utmost best to make sure these businesses have the best chance of success.” 

says Huddy

The programme continues in April 2024 with the next cohort of 50 hospitality students selected from within the Townships, Informal Settlements and Hostels (TISH) sector for a new six-month programme, partnering with CATHSSETA.  

The opportunity lies in the inspiration, mentorship and learning opportunities, says Huddy.

“We cannot wait to follow the journey of each of these new CATHSSETA participants. These students are mostly selected after having completed TVET college courses, and we are a stepping stone for them to the creation of new businesses. It is very exciting.” 

For more information on the Delicious Festival Trader Academy powered by FoodBev Manufacturing Seta, visit: