The Furniture Business Accelerator Programme is in the process of onboarding SMEs onto the mentorship and upgrading phase. The cluster hosted a successful Dragon’s Den event with 5 businesses progressing to mentorship. On Dragon’s Den Day the following categories and businesses were recognised and awarded prizes:

Best Business Pitch: Alifurn Outdoor Living

Alifurn manufactures and supplies outdoor furniture and accessories to the hospitality industry, as well as the residential market in South Africa and abroad.

They work closely with interior designers, procurement companies and hotel groups to develop furniture that is beautiful, good quality, fit for purpose and suitable for our harsh African environment. They are committed to producing high-grade outdoor furniture that has been authentically manufactured and treated with the utmost care from concept to completion.

Alifurn offers a superb range of hand-crafted outdoor furniture pieces and accessories that are designed and manufactured in South Africa from the best quality material available for the purpose. Made specifically to withstand our extreme African weather conditions. Hand woven with UV stabilised fibre cane. They offer a 3-year outdoor guarantee against cracking and fading. Rust resistant, lightweight aluminium frames are powder-coated in a variety of scratch resistant finishes.

Designs, dimensions, and finishes are customisable. National and cross border deliveries available.

Most Promising Business: MAD Designs

Mad Designs offers architecture and interior design services, which puts them in a unique position to meet clients’ needs in “blank spaces”. The more discerning clients, require them to design custom furniture and/or often use Pinterest and other global social media platforms to find furniture pieces that they want uniquely made; this indirectly launched them into the furniture designing and manufacturing space. Being designers makes them uniquely able to come up with unique furniture concepts which in the past has gotten them recognition with the DTI i.e. they were in the Top 5 national furniture design competition in 2018/2019 and they were also shortlisted in 2019/2020, but due to COVID-19 the competition was cancelled.

Their ability to design and spec unique products has given their clients the edge to introduce unique pieces within their spaces. This very ability has seen them furnish over 3 restaurants in Durban, let alone some residential spaces.

Going forward, they hope to have a more pro-active approach to furniture by not only manufacturing to orders, but developing a range and establishing both e-commerce sales platforms AND having a physical showroom where clients can experience the products AND consult for design services in one space.

High Impact Business: Woman’s Vision Primary Cooperative

 Woman’s Vision Cooperative was formed by visionaries in June 2016. They had a desire for manufacturing furniture. The members enrolled and graduated through a cooperative training programme and then established the business.

The carpentry business specialises in designing and supplying office furniture, repairing school desks, and fitting built-in cupboards. Their business concept revolves around repairing and restoring broken furniture, custom tailoring new designs, as well as fitting new concepts for homes.

Restoration of furniture is a lucrative business since no major alterations are made to the original structure.