The concept is the brainchild of Mama Agency and has the goal of partnering growing entrepreneurial businesses with young creatives to grow innovative brands in the market.

The first event took place on Thursday, 13 June. The guest speaker was Robbie Brozin, the co-founder of Nando’s, who spoke about the collaboration between Nando’s and Hunt Lascaris (now TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris) when both businesses were in their infancy.

Nando’s gave a brief to Hunt Lascaris, which stated that the brand wanted to grow big on the back of creativity with an agency who wanted to win awards. Its first television ad was banned (it answered the question of where Nando’s chicken came from with footage of two birds behaving badly).

Nando’s had completely blown its budget on media placement so it had to come up with a replacement ad immediately (this time it was around the brand's sauces and featured a chicken barking).

The ads aimed to establish the 'cheeky' personality of the brand and were created with a small budget. The brand's aim was to take on the 'big guys' in the fast-food industry by being 'edgy and creative'.

Brozin core message to the audience of entrepreneurs and creatives was that "you don’t need lots of money to be creative". "We were brave and we had a brave agency," says Brozin. Nando’s now operates in 23 countries across the world and has over 12 000 restaurants.

He says that South Africa’s creativity is the best in the world, mentioning the diaspora of South African creative directors across the globe. He adds, "We are bursting with creativity. In times of turmoil and shortages, we get creative. As South African creatives, we underestimate our potential, which is nonsense. We are world class."

Aimed at inspiring the next Nando’s–Hunt Lascaris success story, Brozin's talk was followed by the Pair Fair, which saw 20 entrepreneurs and 20 creatives seated across from each other to pitch their businesses and ideas for three minutes at a time before moving on to the next person in a speed-dating type format.

Dominique from Flume, a digital agency, adds, "I’ve met some incredible entrepreneurs who are just so innovative. It’s cool to see how many creative people there are in South Africa wanting to start new businesses. It’s been really awesome."

Guests at the event walked away with a goodie bag containing Allon Raiz’ best-selling book What to do when you want to give up, three months of free premium co-working space at The Business Exchange (TBE) and a pitching preparation pack. Based on the success of this initial event, more Pair Fairs will be arranged over the course of the year.

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