Access remains a massive challenge for many small business owners in Stellenbosch and across South Africa, whether it be access to market, access to business opportunities, access to funding, access to business premises, or access to mentorship and skills development. This is where the new CoCreate Hub comes in – a place of nurture and beacon of hope.
Every square metre of land has a past, every building a story. In the historic community of Stellenbosch, an old community clinic in the tree-lined Victoria Street has turned the page to reveal a brand-new chapter in its journey. The building reopened its doors as the CoCreate Hub in the last week of July.
The exciting journey to transform the badly neglected, disused clinic building with heritage status started in 2019 when the Stellenbosch Municipality awarded a ten-year lease for the building to Stellenbosch-based NPO, Ranyaka Community Transformation.
“The Hub is about so much more than a trading space, though,” says Ranyaka Marketing Manager, Sonya Olivier. “Our vision for the Hub is that it becomes a place of purpose and meaningful connection. We want the Hub to feel like home for all who enter – and within the first two weeks, this was already the feedback we were receiving. Our slogan from day one has been ‘Unlock Stellenbosch.’ This is what it’s all about. Unlocking economic opportunity, but also unlocking potential and forging new friendships.”
What is the CoCreate Hub?
Located on lower Victoria Street, next to Die Mystic Boer, the CoCreate Hub now serves to nurture local entrepreneurs and businesses, providing them with more opportunities to overcome challenges and thrive. Essentially, the Hub serves as a multifunctional facility where small business owners will be able to access affordable working and trading spaces.
Local vendors who meet the following requirements are encouraged to apply to make use of the Hub and take full advantage of the many benefits thereof:
- The business in question must be a majority black owned micro or small enterprise with a B-BBEE status level 1 or 2.
- The business must be a Stellenbosch-based NGO/CBO with an enterprise or business development mandate.
- It must have a business or residential address within the municipal boundary of the greater Stellenbosch.
- The business must have been trading for a minimum of one year.
- It must be registered with relevant trade industry regulators (where applicable).
What does the CoCreate Hub offer vendors?
Aside from a strong sense of unity, connection, and community support, the CoCreate Hub will also offer its approved vendors access to:
- A centrally-located trading space to showcase their talent and products and reach a broader audience.
- A retail space for entrepreneurs who produce their own products (shelf space in the deli and gift shop).
- An exhibition space for local artists to sell their artwork from the Hub (curated by Ikhethiwe Curated from Pniel)
- A space for performing artists to perform at the Hub on a regular basis over lunch hours.
- The Hub also offers local level 1 & 2 B-BBEE businesses a private hot-desking area with the use of a meeting room and private kitchen.
What does the Hub offer the public?
The Hub is not only a lively centre for entrepreneurs – it’s also set to be a vibrant ‘go to’ destination where locals and visitors can venture to eat local, shop local, and experience the region’s rich diversity.
Visitors can eat, work and play, make use of the free wifi, shop or hire a training or meeting room (available per hour, half day or full day). It’s a one stop shop to buy local, feast local and connect local!
What is the vision of the CoCreate Hub?
The Hub’s vision is to optimise ACCESSIBILITY, VISIBILITY, and OPPORTUNITY for local entrepreneurs across the Stellenbosch region. The ultimate goal is to nurture the strong entrepreneurial spirit that exists within the community, all while working to uplift small businesses, alleviate unemployment, and benefit the country’s economy.
The Hub wishes to be:
- A launchpad for local entrepreneurs and a space where they can be equipped, mentored and trained.
- An affordable, centrally-located meeting and training space.
- A neutral gathering space for residents and visitors from all communities to meet, engage in meaningful conversations, forge friendships, build networks and build bridges.
- A space that encourages conversation and ignites action around positive socio-economic transformation in Stellenbosch to bring about sustainable change.
- A place that encourages and brings hope.
How will the CoCreate Hub impact our country’s future?
The Hub will create new economic possibilities for change-makers within Stellenbosch, as well as drive the community’s growth. Brimming with local culture and personality, it will also act as a means for drawing in travellers from far and wide with a penchant for authentic, sustainable, community-focused experiences, playing a notable role in the revival of the travel and tourism sector in our warmhearted town.
In short, Stellenbosch-based small businesses can look forward to feeling a part of a tighter-knit community, as well as fewer barriers standing in the way of brighter, bigger, and better opportunities.