Fast Forward Café Failure

by Tracy-lee Grant, CEO, Nationwide Enterprise Development Administrators (NEDA)

  • Project: Fast Forward Café
  • Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Sector: Business Development
  • Professional Designation: Local NGO

Failure

We started a project in 2008 where NEDA (Nurture : Educate : Develop : Affirm)  would accept Enterprise Development funds from private companies on behalf of qualified, disenfranchised beneficiaries.  IFC (Innovative Franchise Concepts) then used the money to help beneficiaries buy, start and maintain their own Franchise Business.

Our first project was Fast Forward Cafe, which was aimed at upgrading Street Traders in Johannesburg, South Africa.
We were awarded a tender and signed an MOU with Metro Trading Co. in Johannesburg to start the project. Unfortunately the government organisation changed their minds and denied us the permissions they had already granted us, to place the Fast Forward Cafe mobile units on street corners and at Public Transport stations.

We also had issues with beneficiaries who had a spirit of expectation.  Some beneficiaries took their huge profits and went on holiday leaving their staff unpaid, others hired illegal immigrants and paid them disgusting rates per week.

Mainly due to the inability to place our units on Viable Commuter Routes, we had to shut down the project in 2010.  It was heartbreaking to watch this happen after 3 years, 3 people’s time and 3 million rand had been invested in the project.

Learning

We recently moved to Ballito, North Coast Kwazulu natal, South Africa and our dream has been revived.  We realised that we should have started the project closer to the grass roots, on the ground and amongst the people trying to make a living near their hometown.

This small town of Ballito on the Dolphin Coast and it’s great people have been very receptive to the idea and our plans; it’s inspiring.

We are hosting an event, the North Coast Festival from 6-8 Jan 2012 to raise funds and re-start this project.  We are starting with the leasing of a smallholding opposite a train station, near the communities, where we can setup our distribution centre.

Your talk and website have inspired me. I think we’re on track to making our Empowerment projects, a reality!

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One Comment

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  1. Dale Ross says:

    Hi Traci-lee,

    I had a very similar experience. (De ja vu)
    It makes you wonder if these government organisations are really serious about job creation.

    I am also looking to revive my project and think that we can help each other.

    I am based in Durban as well and would be keen to discuss further. Maybe i have your next franchise.

    Dale Ross 0824866324 rossauto@gmail.com

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