Western Cape Funding Fair shortlists 40 from 600 applicants
Alan Winde, Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities is a man with a vision, and he saw it begin to come to fruition as he opened the inaugural Western Cape Funding Fair at the CTICC this morning.
“I have a vision of a different ecosystem for entrepreneurs in this province,” he said. “And this is the platform where everything starts to change, and money starts to flow to the entrepreneurs. It is initiatives like these, and the good stories that will come out of them, that make us the place where people want to do business, and can do so easily.”
The partnership between Deloitte and the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT) was announced at the launch of the Western Cape Funding Fair in November 2014. At the same time, entrepreneurs and innovators were invited to pitch their ideas which needed to be funded.
“We had three main criteria,” said Marius Alberts, Deloitte Western Cape regional leader. “The new enterprises had to be based in the Western Cape, create a significant number of jobs to contribute to the economy of the Western Cape, and require at least R10 million in funding.”
“And we wanted to get more applicants than the 300 received at the Gauteng Funding Fair,” Winde quipped.
When applications closed, over 600 entries had been received. These were carefully analysed and reduced to 40 finalists, who will be pitching their ideas to funders today and tomorrow.
For Minister Winde, those 600 applicants are a significant indication of the positive environment for growth in the province. “The day those 600 applicants decided to pitch was the first step in their future competitiveness in their industry sector,” he said. “Forty of them have a chance to get funding today, but the other 560 have applied their minds and prepared their businesses to receive funding in the future.”
Minister Winde also called on banks in South Africa to take more risks when it comes to entrepreneurs. “Our banks were praised for their low risk rating when the global recession hit,” he said. “But if we want to change the ecosystem for entrepreneurs in this country, they are going to have to be open to more risky ventures.
“Job creation is key for our future, and neither government nor the private sector can make the changes happen on their own. It is partnerships like this one that are the key to our future growth.”