Over 300 businesses applied to the Western Cape Funding Fair, with 20 delivering their pitches during closed sessions to a panel of investors today (25 May 2016).
Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, this morning officially opened the Funding Fair at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.
Now in its second year, the Funding Fair is a partnership between the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism and Deloitte.
It seeks to connect businesses that require funding from R2 million with suitable investors, and educate applicants on best practices to follow to turn ideas into bankable business plans.
Applications were shortlisted based on meeting two main criteria. Businesses had to be headquartered in the province and they could apply for between R2 million and R20 million in funding, or R20 million plus. Following an extensive selection process, applications were selected based on their actual and projected financials, as well as their potential for growth. Apart from the pitching sessions, the programme included speakers and an exhibition by funding institutions. Speakers included Lebo Gunguluza, a Dragon from the television series Dragons’ Den, and Fred Robertson, executive chairman of Brimstone.
At last year’s Funding Fair, 24 businesses pitched to investors. Eight companies went into post-pitching discussions and four businesses indicated that they were successful in sourcing funding in sectors such as IT and media, manufacturing and shipping.
Minister Winde said: “When we engage with entrepreneurs, the most common problem they raise is access to finance. There is also a need to improve awareness and understanding around the funding needs of small businesses. The Funding Fair has started to change the ecosystem. We know that entrepreneurs play a significant role in driving the economy; employing over 500 000 people in the Western Cape. That is why we support initiatives like these which provide a platform for financing for small businesses and also investment opportunities for funders.”
Minister Winde said the Funding Fair illustrated the importance of public-private partnerships.
“Another challenge facing business is red tape. As government, it is our role to reduce these barriers to growth to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive. Through the Funding Fair, we are also partnering with the private sector to make sure that entrepreneurs receive the funding they need to take their ideas to market.”
Marius Alberts, head of Deloitte Western Cape, said: “We received applications from all over the Western Cape and across all industries. Some of the applications that pitched today come from sectors in agro-processing, logistics, renewable energy and food and beverage. These businesses bring a unique proposition to the region, and promise to stimulate economic growth through job creation.
“Today we have seen only the beginning of the potential positive spin-offs that the Funding Fair aims to achieve. The fact that we had a full house attending the speaker programme shows that businesses in the province are hungry for the right information that will help them to succeed. If each person that attended the programme today walks away feeling inspired to take action, or with one good idea on how to grow their business, then the Funding Fair has provided immeasurable value.”
iDEATE will also feature some highlights of the event during the day on this page.