Support for entrepreneurs is expected to double after this year’s Western Cape Funding Fair on Wednesday‚ when more than 1‚500 business owners are expected to pitch their ideas to 24 investors.
Entrepreneurs received R12-million in direct funding as a result of the first two versions of the annual event‚ with deals worth a further R37-million in the due diligence phase.
“If we get what we hope for‚ the pending figure will be R60-million or R70-million from this year’s event‚” said Marius Alberts‚ regional leader of consulting company Deloitte & Touche‚ which co-sponsors the initiative with the Western Cape government.
“Entrepreneurs can go there and link up with a variety of funders. There are not only the traditional commercial banks‚ but we [also] have angel investors and venture capitalists.
“There are also programmes and discussions related to growing a business and how to be successful.”
Economic Opportunities MEC Alan Winde said the fair had “rate-of-deal flow” of one in four‚ versus the industry standard of one in 10 businesses generally funded.
Winde said that this year’s focus would be on how entrepreneurs were getting “investment ready”.
“We want to make sure they are in a position to grow their businesses and create jobs ... able to pitch and package their businesses in such a way that attracts investment‚ and gets banks and angel investors to support them.”
According to Alberts‚ 60% of applications to the fair are from “true” entrepreneurs‚ or non-established businesses‚ while the rest are from small‚ medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs).
“The nature of the programme is focused on SMMEs and entrepreneurs. The main aim is job creation through entrepreneurship but that does not exclude established businesses.”
The event takes place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.