Cape Town “do-ference” to join the dots on startup funding

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The Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, based at the UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB) in Cape Town, will on September 10-11 host the Pathways to Funding Do-ference, aimed at giving entrepreneurs an overview of the different types of funding available and how to prepare their businesses for scale.

The two-day event hosted by the Bertha Centre, a specialised unit at the UCT GSB, has been designed to deliver practical knowledge and tools around raising early-stage finance that can advance the growth of local businesses.

It aims to connect social entrepreneurs, investors and other professionals through interactive workshops, specialised one-on-ones and TED-style talks, with content developed for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs with involvement from investors, academics and other stakeholders.

Tickets cost ZAR500 (US$37), though there are some scholarship tickets available to ensure a fair demographic spread at the event. Tine Fisker Henriksen, impact investing project manager at the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation, said the organisation’s key aim was to “uncover, pioneer, advance and connect social innovators and entrepreneurs”.

“There’s a huge amount of funding in South Africa, a lot of impact investing, there are a lot of entrepreneurs, but for some reason it is not actually connecting,” she said.

The Pathways to Funding event will cover different types of funding, how to layer different types, and how to build a business for scaling.

“We can’t make people experts in two days, but we can give them an overview of what the landscape looks like so they can jump forward a little bit,” she said.

As reported last month by Disrupt Africa, the Bertha Centre has also partnered global impact investment fund Mustard Seed to offer local social enterprises the chance to pitch for funding at the event.

The pitching competition will offer startups with a social or environmental mission to pitch to Mustard Seed, which looks to address the rising appetite for entrepreneurship and socially-minded enterprise among graduates by investing in businesses with a clearly defined social or environmental mission, thus bridging a critical funding gap to support early-stage ventures.

It is open to companies in the startup or early growth phases, with interested teams required to prepare a two-minute pitch video and submit their entries via the Mustard Seed website.

After the final event, the Mustard Seed Investment Committee will select five finalists for consideration and due diligence, with the Audience also able to vote. Mustard Seed typically invests between US$100,000 and US$1 million, and usually invests in at least one startup post-event.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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