The Nando’s Design Programme was launched in 2015. At the time, internally within the Nando’s ecosystem it was affectionately named ‘Nando’s Heartfelt Celebration of South African Design’.
With over 1200 restaurants around the world, Nando’s identified an opportunity to take South African design around the globe, and over the past five years since the programme was launched, its success has inspired the Nando’s design team to develop new platforms to unearth even more talent. One of which the Nando’s Hot Young Designer Talent Search, launched in 2016. That inaugural competition then helped launch the careers of numerous South African designers, including 2019’s 100% Design South Africa’s Designer of the Year award co-winner Thabisa Mjo, who still continues to work closely with Nando’s.
2018 saw the launch of three additional platforms. The first was the Portal to Africa, an online marketplace that allows interior designers working on Nando’s restaurants around the world to order furniture directly from South African designers.
Since it was launched in May 2018, the Portal has shipped over R40 million worth of South African designed products, and since the chain makes no direct profit from the Portal, charging only a levy to help run it, the profit goes directly into the design
The second was Clout, the front end of the programme, which comprises a website, social media channels, a magazine, and a coffee table book. And as of August 2019, Clout Industry Days, a two-day pitch session which was held at the 100% Design South Africa showcase, where designers, both emerging and established, were invited to pitch their ideas to a panel of industry experts and the Nando’s design team. Four winners were chosen and are now currently supported by Nando’s towards the development and production of their design concepts.
While working with the designers, Nando’s identified the need for business development mentorship in partnership, and in July 2018, launched the Business Development Support initiative in collaboration with business and social upliftment experts, Enterprise Room, and Yellowwoods, the holding company behind some of the country’s leading insurance companies and social upliftment initiatives. Says Nando’s Property and Development Director, Michael Spinks: “Through this initiative as well as the Portal to Africa, we hope to establish sustainable demand with the assistance of partnerships and through a collaborative approach with the industry ensure that the sector is scaled up to meet the growing demand.
We see our engagement with these businesses as a journey. We encourage participants to remain engaged in the initiative year on year, to ensure their readiness to scale and maximize opportunities through the Portal to Africa, as well as other opportunities that come their way as they grow. Ultimately, the long-term objective is to develop South African design as a globally sought-after category brand.”
2020 will see the Nando’s Design Programme continue its mission to grow South African design by unearthing new talent, showcasing it globally, and giving designers business support as well a marketplace. The first major event to look forward to for designers looking to be part of the programme is the launch of the next edition of the Nando’s Hot Young Designer Talent Search in April 2020. Make sure to follow @clout_sadesign and @nandos_hyd on Instagram for launch details, as well as the announcement of the next Clout Industry Days, for another opportunity to be part of this transformative programme.