Food startup incubator Smorgasbord launches in SA

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Smorgasbord, a incubator for food-related startups, is launching its operations across several South African cities this year as it looks to find innovative ways for brands and consumers to engage with the food ecosystem.

Describing itself as a food innovation agency, Smorgasbord is based in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg, and also has a satellite office in Nairobi, Kenya.

Managing partner Hardy McQueen told Disrupt Africa the incubator was already working with startups in the fast food sector and agri-tech spaces, and would be rolling out an events series in March.

The “Food Salons” food-preneur events will be focused on building capacity and sustainability in the food and beverage sector. They will offer the opportunity for food-preneurs to showcase their products to industry professionals and brands, while gaining speed dating experience with top industry experts.

“This event is specifically designed to get food-preneurs into retail, other places of relevance and have the opportunity to scale,” said McQueen.

“We are currently researching the size and impact of the industry. Clearly it is vibrant and growing, one just needs to look at all the various markets, food halls, and restaurants nationwide.”

The Food Salon events will eventually lead to a Food Startup of the Year competition, with ZAR150,000 (US$11,000) prize money up for grabs. McQueen said Smorgasbord also had more ambitious plans.

“We have an in-house investment fund that will be activated in early 2018. This fund will look at early stage food, foodtech and agritech businesses,” he said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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