The City of Maputo’s food system comprises a diversity of retailers providing access to food from both domestic and international suppliers. Food markets, whether formal and informal, are the most commonly accessed food source within the city and provide an important source of employment for city residents. As urban labour markets continue to catalyze the growth of national economies in the Global South, the inclusion of young entrepreneurs in the food retail sector in Maputo has become an important but largely unstudied phenomenon. This paper assesses the demographic and entrepreneurial characteristics of this population through a vendor survey of 504 young entrepreneurs (those aged 35 years and younger), drawn from a survey of 1022 entrepreneurs, operating small-scale food enterprises in Maputo. The sampled young food vendors identified survival, family financial security, personal desire, learning and self-determination as the most common reasons for starting their businesses. The sampled young food vendors also identified competition, insufficient sales and few customers along with unaffordable suppliers as the most common business challenges. This paper highlights the aspirations of this population and the formidable economic challenges in their path to business success.