JAN Innovation Academy

A brand new online learning platform

Cape Town, 14 September 2021

South African Michelin-star chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen is excited to announce the launch of JAN Innovation Academy, in partnership with Checkers, an inspired online space for personal and skills development. With a range of curated short courses presented by Jan Hendrik and fellow experts in related industries, JAN Innovation Academy combines education, virtual mentorship and entertainment to inspire the next generation of creatives, entrepreneurs, movers and shakers.

The largescale disruption of the education system caused by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic has undeniably supercharged education technology, revolutionised the approach to online learning and firmly positioned it as fundamental in the educational ecosystem of the future. Through access to a smart device and minimal mobile data expenses, anyone could have access to premium quality developmental content curated in the courses available through JAN Innovation Academy.


JAN Innovation Academy believes that online skills development must be a special focus in South Africa, where education must be a top priority. All industries – especially the hospitality and creative industries – need more diverse educational offerings to reach a wider audience, and enable more people to enter the job market. The challenges, demands and psychological impact of the modern working world was one of the key reasons why Jan Hendrik and his team set out to develop a series of courses that allows everyone access to his knowledge and skills, especially those who have less time to themselves due to longer working hours or other demands.

Every course in the JAN Innovation Academy uses personal storytelling as an approach to educate, upskill and entertain.

“I had to figure a lot of things out as I went along, without having a blueprint or a manual – or someone to teach me the soft skills I needed,” says Jan Hendrik. “So, I failed at a lot of things. But I’ve had some great wins. I’ve learned a lot through this process that I can now, hopefully, through the JAN Innovation Academy, share with others – the ones who have the passion and creative energy to turn their dreams into something real.”

“My dream is for the JAN Innovation Academy to be a place where the stories, insights and lessons my friends and I share can be the difference in whether someone opens that restaurant, starts painting that canvas… or not. We want to inspire others to take that leap of faith and to show up for their dreams,” says Jan Hendrik. 

JAN Innovation Academy, in partnership with Checkers, allows access to a range of personal stories and teachings by Jan Hendrik and fellow restaurateurs, entrepreneurs, chefs, creatives and other industry experts. The platform, steered by video lessons and other supporting material, aims to teach soft skills that can improve marketability in the workplace, and help learners to achieve their personal and professional goals while being entertained during the learning process.

“Through our partnership with JAN Innovation Academy, Checkers hopes to encourage and inspire more people to learn about the food industry, and ultimately to become innovative entrepreneurs within this space. Not only do we share a love of food, but Jan Hendrik does not compromise on quality, and neither does Checkers. It therefore made sense to join forces on this exciting initiative,” says Willie Peters, General Manager: Marketing at Checkers.

The virtual learning platform of the JAN Innovation Academy can be accessed anytime, anywhere through desktop or mobile devices.

JAN Innovation Academy is launching a range of courses over the next ten weeks, starting in September 2021, which include Restaurant Entrepreneurship, Mental Resilience in the Workplace, Building a Personal Brand, and Creative Thinking Through Food.

Visit JAN Innovation Academy now

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