Johannesburg, 21 August 2017 – On Thursday 17 August 2017, Riversands Incubation Hub in partnership with Kaya FM hosted its annual FundEX event showcasing a wide spectrum of funders with the aim of exposing entrepreneurs to the many funding opportunities available. With over 500 attendees, the event was deemed extremely successful. In fact, the 498-seater auditorium at Riversands Incubation Hub was filled to capacity!

People from diverse backgrounds converged on the business incubator to hear valuable insights on topics such as building an investable business, how to become an inner-city property entrepreneur, government incentives as well as funding challenges and how they overcome them.

The event started on a high note as Riversands Incubation Hub COO Tafadzwa Madavo welcomed attendees. Ran Neu-Ner, co-founder of The Creative Counsel (TCC), South Africa’s largest advertising and marketing agency followed with a powerful keynote address. He spoke candidly about his entrepreneurial journey, starting from humble beginnings and building a business which was reportedly acquired in a deal worth upwards of a billion rand. Neu-Ner who is also a venture capitalist shared his story with entrepreneurs in the hope they’ll relate and because he wanted them to avoid making the same mistakes he did.

“The only reason I succeeded is because I’ve failed. I learnt nothing from success,” he said while sharing key business lessons. In his address, Neu-Ner said South Africans need to get into the mindset of celebrating failure and not shun it. Lessons that struck a chord with many attendees were that “character is much more important than wealth” and that “the ability to take risks is a currency of entrepreneurship.” He also encouraged and challenged aspiring entrepreneurs to “come out of closet”, saying, the time to start their businesses is today – the longer they wait, the more responsibilities life will throw at them.

“The ability to take risks is a currency of entrepreneurship”

The event day was jam packed with other exciting speakers including Liezl van Staden, Regional Business Development Manager at Finfind, Nirmala Reddy, Senior Manager for Enterprise Development at Nedbank, Nadia Rawjee, Director of Strategy and Finance at Uzenzele Holdings, Gideon Potgieter, Entrepreneur in Residence at Resolution Circle, Clinton Foy Regional Sales Manager at Retail Capital and Linda Dotwana, Portfolio Manager at TUHF.

All the speakers were highly motivational and certainly gave attendees food for thought. “Chase business, not funding,” said Reddy to a packed auditorium. Dotwana’s message was that character based lending is the basis. He encouraged entrepreneurs to demonstrate character and know their stuff.

The panel discussion which featured entrepreneurs who successfully raised funding for their business proved popular with attendees. Entrepreneurs on the panel were Aisha Pandor, founder of SweepSouth, Peter Frolich, Managing Director at CreoVision, Seola Mashamaite, Managing Director at Montech Calibration Services and Jan de Kock, Head of Private Sector Origination at ABSA. The CEO of Dzana Investments, Nkateko Khoza moderated the discussion well and also shared pearls of wisdom with attendees.

“Chase business, not funding”

The one-hour practical workshop conducted by Marang Marekimane from Business Process Mechanics on preparing a funding application was also well-received and highly informative. As anticipated, the Funders Lounge in which entrepreneurs are allowed to book a one-on-one appointment with specialists from a range of different funders including state agencies, private equity, commercial banks and innovative alternative funding providers was oversubscribed with over 150 people making bookings.

Throughout the day, attendees were kept entertained by a variety of MCs including Velly Bosega, founder and MD, AdClick Africa Group and Ndabazezwe Mncube, founder, Finding Moola and Zandile Mabena, Partnership and Sponsorship Manager at Nunnovation Africa Foundation.

Entrepreneur and exhibitor on the day Yolelwa Sikunyana, Director of Sikunyana Incorporated Attorneys said the event exceeded her expectations. “I’m happy I got the opportunity to participate. So much went right. We did not only get the leads, I was so impressed with the engagements from the attendees. It was really awesome,” she said.

Riversands Incubation Hub COO Tafadzwa Madavo said the feedback the business incubator is receiving suggests FundEX2017 had an amazing impact for many. He added, FundEX2018 will be bigger, brighter and better as the Hub continues to play a role in bringing together many players in the funding space, providing guidance for entrepreneurs on what finance is available, what funders are looking for and how to better prepare for funding.

By Simangele Mzizi