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CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT) in partnership with Deloitte, will be hosting a funding fair for SMEs on May 8 and are calling all entrepreneurs with the next bright idea. 

DEDAT says that the role of small businesses in promoting sustainable growth is crucial for South Africa’s economic transformation agenda. 

SMEs currently contribute 34% to the country’s GDP and acts as a key driving force in job creation. However, there is limited funding available for SMEs and is one of the main reasons why they fail. 

Deloitte and DEDAT recognised the gap in the market and launched the Funding Fair in 2014, aimed at making entrepreneurs more sustainable. 

“We have learned first-hand from those attending the Funding Fair about the challenges they face in securing funding, and we tailor the programme to address this critical issue. 

"Deloitte is in the process of implementing a Digital Venturing Programme designed to establish an exclusive group of high-potential scale-up companies that Deloitte Africa can collaborate with to co-develop new service or product offerings for our market”, says Deloitte Western Cape Leader, Marius Alberts. 

“Entrepreneurship is a cornerstone of our economy and a major driver of job creation. The Western Cape Funding Fair is a way for us to connect these start-up businesses with the people who could fund their development and growth,” Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde said.

Since its inception in 2014, the Funding Fair has attracted over 3000 entrepreneurs and business owners. 

“Guided by feedback from previous years, the programme this year has been carefully structured to provide a robust and engaging full-day event,” says Alberts.

The Funding Fair which is set to take place on May 8 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) will see 25 funders exhibiting at the fair. 

“A variety of funders from various organisations including the four major banks, development finance institutions and other private funders will be at the Western Cape Funding Fair”, said DEDAT. 

Although no actual funding will be allocated on the day, the fair is developed for businesses to engage with funders and to participate in funding-related educational programmes. 

DEDAT said that the main aim of the Fair is for funders to discover entrepreneur’s mandate and qualifying criteria. 

When asked what advice DEDAT and Deloitte would give to aspiring entrepreneurs in order to best prepare for the fair and their business, DEDAT said that entrepreneurs should have a defined business model. 

“Have a defined business model and know your market / demonstrate that it is viable. Develop realistic financial projections/assumptions based on realistic market research. Ensure you comply with all the requirements for fund raising before you approach funders”, said DEDAT. 

In the meantime, individuals are encouraged to book their free ticket to the fair on the Western Cape Governments website. 

DEDAT also noted that there are a variety of other programmes available to SME’s such as the Department of Economic and Development (DEDAT) which offers an investment readiness programme to help entrepreneurs be investment ready. There is also the Small Enterprise Development Agency and various accelerator programmes offered by the private sector.

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- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE