Cape Town design programme to showcase small business talent

17Tomm Briggs 300x300 Cape Town design programme to showcase small business talent

Tom Briggs of Blendavenda will take part in the design programme.

A unique business that uses design as a “tool for social, cultural and economic development” has been given the opportunity to showcase what it offers during the World Design Capital Cape Town 2014 (WDC CT 2014) programme, and is already reaping the benefits of being given this honour.

WDC CT 2014 will be hosted by the City of Cape Town.

The event’s theme is “Live Design, Transform Life”.

To this end, the city has developed an events programme that focuses on using design as a development tool to run throughout 2014.

About 450 projects have been selected for recognition in the official programme for the year.

Jenni Kruger, programme manager for Cape Town Design, the implementation agency for WDC CT 2014, says that these projects were selected from
1 300 submissions assessed by a panel of curators. Projects were submitted across the four WDC 2014 themes: African Innovation, Bridging the Divide, Today for Tomorrow and Beautiful Spaces, Beautiful Things.

“These projects will benefit from promotion in local and international media, networking and collaboration opportunities with other stakeholders, as well as exposure to resources and opportunities that aim to support and nurture the projects,” says Kruger.

She says several small businesses were among the recognised projects, which also included established businesses, academic institutions and non-profit organisations.
Blendavenda, which offers pedal-powered smoothies and juice bars, is one of these small businesses.

Its owner, Tom Briggs, says he has already experienced the benefits of being officially tied to this event. “When we approach established companies to pitch ideas and work, we can use the profile of being a WDC project to get meetings or to get emails read. The

WDC logo we use on our marketing material also gives us a great advantage, because it has been so well promoted in the city.

“The WDC also offers great networking opportunities, and we attend many of the events that are made available to us.”

Briggs feels that Blendavenda, a one-year-old business that employs two people, was selected because it fits so well with innovative, clean, sustainable and healthy design.

“The fact that the business concept, if moved forward correctly, has the potential to create more employment opportunities, also played a part,” he adds.

Briggs aims to find an investor and run Blendavenda smoothie bars as a co-operative, a cheap start-up business producing a great fresh product.

Kruger says even though the projects list has been finalised, everyone – including small businesses – is still invited to take the initiative and use WDC CT 2014 to showcase their work.

In addition to the 450 projects, the overall programme will also include a design project initiated by the community in each of the city’s 111 wards.

“Through the programme, we hope to help build a strengthened design ecosystem and economy that can unlock and stimulate a design and innovation value chain,” says Kruger.

Opportunities have also been identified for businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector, as the city expects an increased flow of visitors throughout WDC CT 2014.

The city says this is based on the fact that urban tourism is a large segment of the global tourism market, and previous WDC titleholders have seen increased visitor numbers as a result of the designation.

Helsinki (WDC 2012), for instance, saw an increase in overnight stays.

There is little reason to doubt that Cape Town, already among the world’s top tourist destinations, will emulate or even exceed Helsinki’s experience.

, Cape Town Design, Jenni Kruger, Tom Briggs

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