Wesgro, the official Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape, has partnered with Finfind to develop and launch a Fund Matchmaking Portal to help businesses find best funding option available for their needs.
The Fund Matchmaking Portal utilises information submitted by businesses and compares it against the mandates of more than 300 funders, and more than 600 finance products. The concept of the portal was driven by recognition of the considerable need for businesses across the region to access funding.
During the initial COVID-19 lockdown, the Western Cape Government, City of Cape Town and Wesgro developed and launched the COVID-19 Support Finder Tool, which was designed to assist businesses in identifying viable support structures for their businesses. The uptake was strong, with more than 6,500 businesses utilising the tool during the lockdown.
Through implementing the COVID19 Support Finder Tool, and day-to-day interactions with local companies, the Wesgro Investment Promotion unit recognised that a knowledge gap existed among business in the region with regards to funding options for businesses in South Africa. The overwhelming majority of businesses that engage with Wesgro seeking funding have a limited understanding of funding channels existing in both the public and private sector across the country.
Head of Investment Promotion at Wesgro, James Milne, said: “Is this portal a silver bullet for the business funding problem in South Africa? Unfortunately not. The majority of businesses we work with still need considerable support in becoming ‘funding ready’. However, for those that have strong documentation in place, our hope is that this portal provides a structure for exploring the funding landscape, in a fast and efficient manner. Our objective is to continue reshaping and improving the platform as we learn from the data generated, in order to help more businesses access funding”.
The Investment Promotion unit also recognised that matchmaking alone does not guarantee that a business will be successful in accessing funding. Accordingly, in the case of a viable application, the unit will work with clients to ensure linkages to funders are supported on an ongoing basis to help companies through the ‘last mile’ of funding access.
“This is another welcome addition to our collective investment facilitation offering. As an investment friendly destination we welcome the opportunity to strengthen Cape Town’s strategy of investment promotion and facilitation. Cape Town remains a forward-looking globally competitive city that offers great opportunities for investors with lower cost of operation and access to a sizeable market in the rest of South Africa and Africa,” added Alderman James Vos, Mayoral Member for Economic Opportunities, Tourism and Asset Management at the City of Cape Town.
Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier, welcomed the launch of the Fund Matchmaking Portal: “We are working hard to create an enabling environment for those who want to start their businesses and grow their businesses in the Western Cape. Understanding the financing landscape in South Africa is a critical step to improving the ease of doing business in the province and so we encourage businesses to make use of this resource and all the support services we have available, including our Red Tape Reduction Unit who can further assist businesses to access the funding.”
Wesgro CEO, Tim Harris, commented: “The Fund Matchmaking Portal is an exciting development borne out of Wesgro’s response to the COVID19 pandemic. Helping businesses understand the funding landscape is an important part of Wesgro’s role, and we hope that the portal helps accelerate access to funding for local businesses.”
Is your business looking for funding? Access the Fund Matchmaking Portal here: https://www.wesgro.co.za/invest/funding