CookoutSunday is a Township Business Success Story – Find Out their Business Model

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This article forms part of SME South Africa’s Township Entrepreneurship series. In the month of October we will explore the complexities, challenges and success stories of the township entrepreneurship ecosystem.

CookoutSunday Soweto is one of the country’s buzziest markets.

The market – which offers a mix of food, drink, live entertainment and children’s entertainment – was launched by Keletso Ramela, Itumeleng Mokwena, Morapedi Molefi, Thabang Mokotla and Nkosana Dube in 2016 in Diepkloof, Soweto.

Today they are drawing crowds of over 8 000 four times a year with over 100 black-owned businesses selling their wares.

To find out what’s behind the market’s incredible success, SME South Africa speaks to one of the co-founders, Mokwena about their business model and why they are passionate about black business development.

We are planning to make it a sustainable part of the calendar, a tourist attraction and job creation platform

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What is COOKOUTSUNDAY?

Cookout Sunday is a daytime quarterly family event (four times a year) of culinary and cultural activities created to educate, initiate, and expose your and upcoming chefs and vendors the market and also expose different culinary styles to the masses by giving a new and sophisticated taste of what Soweto has to offer as opposed to what we are generally accustomed to.

The event was established in 2015 in a smaller location in Diepkloof Soweto, it grew rapidly and JMPD had to shut down the event and for it to seek an alternative venue. Since then the event moved to Meadowlands for about 4 events and it has since finally found a home at the Soweto Cricket Oval in Rockville.

What’s the demographics of your crowd and how many people attend the event on average?

The event attracts an average 8 000 youth, adults and children of all races.

What’s CookoutSunday’s business model?

The business model generates money from sponsors, brand activations, stalls (vendors) bookings, ticket sales and merchandise.

How many vendors exhibit at the event?

An average of 100 small businesses, which includes vendors selling drinks and food as well as businesses involved in the setup such as lighting, sound, tent etc.

What has been your biggest achievement thus far?

Sponsoring, helping and growing Soweto cricket, working with [DJ] Black Coffee and definitely creating jobs for over a thousands people just on that one day of the event.

What are some of the challenges that come with organising such an event?

Besides having to abide by the rules set out by the JOC, our major challenge has been getting government and big business to take this employment creation platform as serious as we have done over the past two years.

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What safety do you have to deal with for an event of this size?

We are a fully JOC compliant event, which means the Johannesburg Organizing Committee will only approve the event once we have adhered to all Health and Safety requirements ranging from all traders having a valid health certificate (which is a must), emergency medical services, JMPD, SAPS and the CPF (Community Policing Forum) and also a private security company in and around the venue on the day of the event from the morning all the way to when the last patron has vacated the premises.

What future developments are you currently working on?

We are planning to make it a sustainable part of the calendar, a tourist attraction and job creation platform with the help of big business, the City of Johannesburg, Cricket SA and anyone who sees the vision for township economic development.

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