It is well known that innovation and entrepreneurship are key drivers of economic growth, however, those behind growing businesses and great ideas require access to funding, a supportive business environment and the necessary skills to succeed.
The Western Cape Funding Fair, a joint initiative between Deloitte Western Cape and the Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT), is an exhibition and conference style platform aimed at connecting growing businesses with funders. Now in its third year, and with a successful track record, it has become the must-attend yearly event that supports entrepreneurial growth.
This year’s event took place in May at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) and kicked-off to a packed audience of over 1,000 business owners and entrepreneurs who had signed-up to attend business information sessions, and to connect with 24 active funding organisations. The information sessions covered a broad range of topics, providing valuable insights on alternative funding models and new approaches to funding, including how to scale businesses and how to avoid mistakes in structuring forecasts.
Those attending the panel discussions learnt first-hand from successful entrepreneurs about their journey to market. Corporate enterprise development was another hot topic, where Rise Uniforms founder Ntombi Nonxuban shared valuable advice about how to partner successfully with big retailers. Richard Qonto, founder of Pendairies, spoke of his journey to success fuelled by determination and vision to succeed.
The funding hall was buzzing with activity throughout the day as entrepreneurs and business owners met with a variety of funders, sharing their business ideas and connecting for future meetings. A panel discussion focussed on alternative models of and new approaches to funding, included guest speakers from a diverse range of funders: Rainfin, Growth Grid Capital, Business Partners and Grotech. These are strategic partners to helping small business succeed.
Small business is often cited as the backbone of the economy with estimates placing the GDP contribution of small businesses as high as 61%. Further data from the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) shows that there are an estimated 65,000 SMEs in South Africa, employing over 7.8 million people. With small business being a much-needed source of employment, it is clear that the more that can be done to help SMEs succeed, the better.
Through the Funding Fair, Deloitte Western Cape and DEDAT recognises the power of small business in driving economic development and job creation. The Funding Fair is an excellent initiative dedicated to connecting businesses to funders, alleviating the challenge faced by most SMEs to access suitable funding for their successful growth.
Over 2,500 SME representatives from diverse sectors and industries have attended the Funding Fair since it was launched in 2015, with bankable businesses successfully raising funding through this channel.
In 2016, Pendairies and Innovo Networks both secured funding. Each has a unique story that can be viewed on the Western Cape Funding Fair website.