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Clout, a developmental design programme fired up by Nando’s, calls on local designers to put their best pitch forward

Clout – a vibrant talent incubator that forms part of the Nando’s Design Programme – is calling on emerging design talent to pitch concepts to a panel of judges in the hope of jump-starting careers and driving business forward. Invitations to participate in the pitching sessions are now open and close on 31 July 2019. Aspirant designers of interior furnishings, fittings and finishes, such as lights, benches, patterns, chairs, stools, tables, servers, screens, sideboards and so on, take heed!


The Nando’s Design Programme has a particular focus on nurturing emerging talent from South Africa. Its initiatives have not only helped uncover new names and catapult bright young things to global stardom through annual projects such as the Hot Young Designer competition, more importantly, the Nando’s Design Programme has facilitated exposure to global business opportunities that have accelerated the growth of these fledgling businesses. Now, a dynamic new drive to unearth and support a fresh wave of promising design entrepreneurs is on! 

Only 24 shortlisted candidates will be selected to present their ideas. They will compete for dedicated year-long mentorship, inclusion on the Nando’s Portal to Africa – which enables exposure to a global buying audience – and a free display stand at 100% Design South Africa 2020, Africa’s leading product design trade show. 

Known as the Clout Designers’ Days Fired Up by Nando’s, the pitching sessions will take place on Friday 9 and Saturday 10 August 2019. The venue is the 100% Workspace arena at 100% Design South Africa 2019, which runs from 7-11 August 2019 at Gallagher Convention Centre. 

The selected emerging designers will each be given 15 minutes to engage with a panel of judges. These include industry professionals such as Michael Spinks, who heads the Nando’s Design Programme as Property and Development Director; Tracy Lynch of Studio Leelynch and Creative Director of the Nando’s Design Programme; 100% Design South Africa Creative Directors, Laurence Brick and Cathy O’Clery; and others. 

Capture d’écran 2019-06-20 à 15.44.24Photo Credit: Theana Breugem

Each pitcher will receive complimentary access to 100% Design South Africa 2019 for themselves and a partner (but must cover the cost of their travel and accommodation) in order to attend the Clout Designers’ Days Fired Up by Nando’s. This access pass also allows attendees to view the professional product design exhibitors taking part in the show, as well as attend Decorex Joburg and the International Sourcing Fair taking place alongside.

Each of the Clout Designers’ Days Fired Up by Nando’s starts at 11h00 and ends at approximately 17h00, divided into morning and afternoon sessions. The Nando’s design team will kick off the proceedings by providing an introduction to the Nando’s Portal to Africa, its potential and purpose.

The portal acts as one of the largest facilitators of South African design export and since its launch in May 2018, over R24 million in sales has been transacted through the gateway. Nando’s doesn’t profit from this platform, however, the listed designers do – the portal merely facilitates the commercial exchange on their behalf. There are approximately 1 200 Nando’s restaurants located across the globe from Washington DC to Dhaka, and each space showcases bold, bespoke furniture items which are procured through this online interface (

According to Spinks: “We have an excellent opportunity. As we showcase South African design to our global Nando’s partners, there is growing demand for our world-class, unique products. We are able to catalyse and transform the design sector by enabling the supply of these products internationally and offer continued support for the development of the SME’s who produce them. This commercially sustainable demand will enable us to continue this commitment to design in South Africa and realise the opportunities for South African design on a global stage.”

Once the portal has been introduced, the first two pitches of the day will be conducted by industry leaders whom Nando’s already lists. According to Lynch, “this is an opportunity for young designers to learn what’s essential for a world-class pitch.” Established portal designers include leading lights such as Laurie Wiid Van Heerden from Wiid Design, Houtlander, Thabisa Mjo of Mash T Design Studio, Mpho Vackier of TheUrbanative, Vogel Design and David Krynauw.

From 11h30 onwards, the first six short-listed young designers will be given a dedicated slot of 15 minutes each. Five minutes of designated time will be given to the pitcher to share their concept, design narrative and a bit about themselves. Directly afterwards, each will be given 10 minutes of constructive and uplifting feedback from the panel that is intended to encourage “lightbulb moment” responses.

The sessions will resume after a short lunch break, with the afternoon leg starting at 14h00. Again two established designers will pitch first, followed by six more shortlisted designers. After the Clout Designer’s Days Fired Up By Nando’s are concluded, the four winners will be announced on Sunday 11 August 2019 via Clout’s social media presence, which can be found at @clout_sadesign. 

To apply for one of only 24 much-coveted places at the Clout Designers’ Days Fired Up by Nando’s, aspirant pitchers will need to send the following documents and visuals to Natalie Dadswell at Nando’s via:

  1. A minimum of 1 x visual of the pitch project – this can be a drawing, sketch, render, visualisation, etc. Please note that multiple visuals are welcome to help illustrate the concept. If the concept has already been prototyped, then please send photographs of the physical piece.
  2. A short description of the concept.
  3. The designer’s full contact details.
  4. An indication of production capacity and the unit cost to produce.
  5. A copy of the respective designer’s South African ID or residency permit.

All applications must be completed and sent before close-of-business (17h00) on Wednesday 31 July 2019. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted by Friday 2 August 2019. Prototypes are welcomed at the pitching sessions but are not essential. The items pitched need to have been designed by the person presenting them at the session and it must be possible to manufacture them in South Africa. 

Members of the trade who are not shortlisted are still welcome to observe the proceedings as part of the audience. Trade visitors can register online before 7 August 2019 for free access via Thereafter, trade tickets may be purchased at the entrance to 100% Design South Africa at R100 per professional.

To find out more about Clout, follow @clout_sadesign #clout_sadesign on social media.