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Cape Town – If there were a competition for the dream dating scenario for smaller businesses, Wednesday's Western Cape Funding Fair might be a contender for a top spot. Now in its third year, the event gathered more than 2 000 entrepreneurs, who had signed up to attend business information sessions and connect with active funding organisations, of which at least 24 were present. 

The Western Cape Funding Fair, held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, is a joint initiative between Deloitte and the province's Department of Economic Development and Tourism. It is an exhibition and conference-style platform aimed at creating awareness of and access to multiple funding organisations. 

The Western Cape's MEC for Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde, said the provincial government's commitment to helping foster the spirit of entrepreneurship was unwavering. "Through our engagement with entrepreneurs we have learnt that the most common problem they face is around gaining access to finance," Winde said. 

"We know that innovative entrepreneurs play a significant role in driving the Western Cape economy. That is why we support initiatives like these which prepare entrepreneurs for fundraising and help to connect them to potential investors. "As government, it is our role to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive. 

Through the Funding Fair we partner with the private sector to make sure that business owners have the knowledge to get their enterprises to the next level, in particular as they seek funding," Winde added. Marius Alberts, head of Deloitte Western Cape, said the company was delighted to partner on this initiative. 

"To enable small business to succeed it is important that the people with innovative ideas and skills have access to the vital entrepreneurial resources like money and know-how to grow their businesses," he said. "When small businesses prosper, it stimulates economic growth through job creation. 

"Today, not only did we have a full house attending our curated speaker programme, but we also had an impressive turnout from funders who are eager to potentially invest their money in great businesses," Alberts said.