2. Order Kasi

The Digital Economy is profoundly changing the way people communicate, learn, travel and transact, to name just a few dimensions of everyday life, including in South Africa’s townships. With ever increasing smartphone usage and higher financial inclusion, township-based entrepreneurs like Leon Qwabe, founder and owner of Order Kasi, are leveraging business opportunities in their communities.

Leon is originally from Kwazulu-Natal, the country’s most populated coastal province facing the Indian Ocean and bordering Mozambique. He moved to Cape town to study, and lived in Nyanga township for 7 years whilst studying.

While the emerging middle classes in townships could be a natural market for online order-in food options, most existing online platforms are designed to source from establishment restaurants and are reluctant to deliver to township households.

To Leon, this is fundamentally unjust, and the risk-assessment of these online firms is based on wrong assumptions. Not only is there a huge abundance and variety of street food stalls and restaurants in the townships,  but there is also a growing market of middle-income earners who are able and willing to pay for food deliveries. He started developing Order Kasi as a response. Given the high levels of youth unemployment, his secondary aim is to create local job opportunities. Order-Kasi therefore specifically targets the vast and largely untapped township market. If the opportunity exists for hot meal deliveries, Leon thinks that many other products could be made available following the same principle.

Supported by one of Cape Town’s incubators, Leon and his business partner now have a functional app, and a pool of 5 restaurants from Khayelitsha - the Cape’s largest township – which have listed their menu as part of a pilot. Order Kasi sees orders coming through, but has yet to reach scale.

Leon is currently focusing on a growth plan - increasing restaurants as well as customers – and also on collecting key metrics needed by future potential investors before embarking on the Order Kasi business journey.