Johannesburg, 12 December 2016 – On 16 November 2016, Riversands Incubation Hub in partnership with the National Empowerment Fund (NEF) hosted its inaugural FundEX event aimed at exposing entrepreneurs to the many funding and personal wealth creation opportunities available. With over 600 attendees, the event was deemed extremely successful.

People from diverse backgrounds from Gauteng and even Pretoria converged on the business incubator to hear some of the innovative funding mechanisms which are now available for entrepreneurs as well as ‘beyond the brochure’ insights into how banks, government funders and investors evaluate a business. In her opening address, Riversands Incubation Hub CEO Jenny Retief said the business incubator is proud to be bringing top financial minds that are ready to assist entrepreneurs take their business to the next level.

The event was divided into two tracks which ran concurrently: Funding; and Investments & Savings. Choice was certainly the order of the day as attendees had the option of choosing the speakers and topics which interested them most. They also had the opportunity to book a one-on-one engagement to hear from the funders on what they are looking for – and this proved very popular with delegates.

In the Funding track, speakers included Nirmala Reddy, Head of Enterprise Development at Nedbank; Jeremy Lang, Regional General Manager, Business Partners; Darlene Menzies, Founder of SMEasy and FinFind; Mamosa Motjope, Finance Director at Thuso Risk Advisors and Associate Mentor at Fetola and Dr Andrew Louw, CEO of + Louw to name a few. On the Investments & Savings side, some of the speakers were Riaz Gardee, Mergers and Acquisitions Principal, MMI Holdings; Marc Ashton, Managing Director, Moneyweb; Mark Corbett, CEO, Century Property Developments; Gary Fisher, Specialist: Business and Distribution Enablement, Alexander Forbes; Nhlanhla Nyembe, Imbewu Fund Manager, National Empowerment Fund and Mike Brown, Managing Director, ETFSA.

Funding opportunities are available to entrepreneurs

Throughout the day, the prevalent theme was that funding opportunities are available to entrepreneurs, both existing and aspiring. They simply need to know what’s available to them, prepare well and take advantage of opportunities in order to grow their businesses.

In fact, Nirmala Reddy advised that it’s important for entrepreneurs to have their finger on the pulse when it comes to their businesses because they’ll never know when that golden opportunity will present itself. “Always be thinking about what you’ll need for the future,” she added.

In his talk titled ‘Three Key Lessons: Classic funding mistakes learnt from a career in venture capital’, Dr Andrew Louw, shared the same sentiments. He advised entrepreneurs to keep it simple in order to get investors’ attention. According to Louw, it’s important to have a brief pitch, to choose a part of the value chain with a high reward and quick turnaround and for entrepreneurs to bootstrap to improve valuation and chances of being funded. He added, “Once you demonstrate [there’s a] market, it’s easy to get funding.”

Mamosa Motjope also agreed about funding opportunities being available, particularly grant funding, she cautioned entrepreneurs about the pitfalls of not understanding the terms of grants and just thinking they’re getting money for free to use to their heart’s content. “You won’t grow if you don’t understand the fundamentals. Plan properly on how you’ll spend the money to grow the business so the cash injection leads to something worthwhile,” said Motjope.

With regard to Investments & Savings, entrepreneurs were advised to look out for themselves financially and not only focusing on the business. “Think about how you can invest your money to make sure there is some capital left for you,” said Gary Fisher. Some of the vehicles presented to entrepreneurs included passive investing – ETFs, retirement annuities, investing on the JSE and in the property sector.

Throughout the day, attendees were kept entertained by a variety of MCs including, Ndabazezwe Mncube, founder, Finding Moola, Velly Bosega, founder and MD, AdClick Africa Group, Sibo Dube, Head of Corporate Affairs, Unilever and Ryan Hogarth, speaker and author of How to Win Influence & Friend People.

Judging by the response from the attendees, FundEX2017 is certainly something to look forward to.