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Entrepreneurs, funders head to Funding Fair

May 09 2017 15:31
Carin Smith

Cape Town - The third annual Western Cape Funding Fair (WCFF) will take place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) on Wednesday May 10 from 08:00 to 16:00.

The WCFF is an exhibition and conference platform, aimed at preparing entrepreneurs for fundraising and helping to connect them to potential investors.

The organisers expect more than 2 000 entrepreneurs and business owners to attend. On top of that 29 active funders will be present. Topics covered will include the South African SMME landscape; alternative funding models; new approaches; scaling your business; innovation and value creation; corporate enterprise development; target market segmentation; and finance.

The WCFF is a joint initiative between Deloitte Western Cape and the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism (Dedat).

Marius Alberts, regional leader of Deloitte Western Cape, told Fin24 on Tuesday that, although Deloitte and Dedat are not direct funders of SMMEs, they seek, through the Funding Fair, to educate entrepreneurs and business owners on accessing finance, looking at opportunities available, investment readiness and typical issues affecting access to finance.

"Fostering entrepreneurship is a priority for Deloitte and the Western Cape Government, because it recognises the power in entrepreneurs who create businesses as new businesses create jobs," said Alberts.

"When we started the Funding Fair, our main aim was, in some way, to contribute towards job creation. Of course there are many initiatives with this aim and this is just one of them."

Accessibility

Alberts explained that the aim is also to create some level of accessibility.

"We used to have pitches and a shortlist of 30 entrepreneurs to present at the event. The feedback we received after the first two funding fairs indicated, however, that its value was more in providing a base to connect and network rather than only in the closed pitching sessions," he told Fin24.

That is why the format has been changed this year to be more open. The 29 funders - covering a wide spectrum - will be in an open area with their respective units and accessible to anybody.

While the network process is happening, the speaker and workshop programme will take place as well.

Alberts said he got a lot of insight about why SMMEs are so important for job creation when he heard a presentation on a new entrepreneur fund earlier this year. The presentation was given by Adrian Gore, founder and CEO of the Discovery Group.

Gore explained that big business and government can't create new jobs, because government has budget constraints and big business can only grow further through efficiencies. That is why entrepreneurs and SMEs are the only real creators of new jobs.

"If SMMEs can be helped to grow properly, they will grow from providing jobs to five people to creating jobs for a 1 000 people or more. So, it is not just about supporting small businesses in principle, but to support SMEs to become big businesses," said Alberts.

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deloitte  |  entrepreneurs  |  funding  |  small business
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