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Seed Academy launches ebook to guide entrepreneurs through funding process

Access to funding is a massive issue for South African startups. In fact, the 2015 Ventureburn Startup Survey showed that many entrepreneurs consider it their biggest obstacle to growth. News that Seed Academy has launched an ebook aiming to guide entrerpeneurs through the funding process should therefore probably come as welcome.

Called The Essential Guide to Funding in South Africa, the guide was developed in response to the findings of the incubators own survey, launched earlier this year.

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“It is clear from Seed Academy’s first startup survey, and after training hundreds of entrepreneurs, that raising funds is the most common concern. The survey showed that 70% of respondents say they require funding to grow their businesses. 83% of start ups are self funded and only 3% fund their businesses from the vehicles formally established to support them. There clearly was a serious gap – tremendous demand for funding, substantial funding available but the entrepreneurs had a knowledge gap. This practical guide aims to show entrepreneurs just how much support is actually available and how to go about applying for it.”

Read more: No surprise: funding the biggest hurdle for SA’s startups

According to Seed Academy, the ebook has been written as a resource for early stage micro, small and medium size businesses to secure funding for their businesses. As an e-book, the incubator says, it will become more comprehensive over time as funders and users add to the content.

It also says that there are funding options for all types of entrepreneurs including women, those involved in green projects, mining, manufacturing, technology even businesses in distress are catered for.

To celebrate the launch of resource, Seed Academy says it has set up funding speed dating. This will take place on Thursday, 17 September at the Leaderex conference at the Sandton Convention Centre.

Read more: What happens after Venture Capital funding is secured?

“The idea is to connect entrepreneurs and private and government sector funders,” says Rachelson. “Each entrepreneur will be able to pitch their business to a range of potential funders. As a result, entrepreneurs will better understand the funding requirements of DFIs, banks, angel investors and venture capitalists. Funders will be able to grow their deal pipeline and be exposed to innovative businesses.”

The Essential Guide to Funding in South Africa covers some of the more current forms of fundraising such as crowdfunding, but the more traditional angel investors, public and private equity as well as venture capital funding and bank loans are covered too.

The full array of funding available via the development finance institutions is explained in some detail including loans and grants. This section includes the DTI, National Empowerment Fund, The Development Bank of South Africa, Small Enterprise Finance Agency, Enablis Acceleration Fund, Khula Credit Indemnity Scheme, Industrial Development Corporation, Small Enterprise Development Agency, The Technology Innovation Agency and the Jobs Fund.

The guide also contains some tips in pitching for funds and recommends being extremely conservative in financial projections, understanding the competitive environment and having a clear understanding of business differentiators.

Advice offered suggests that whether or not an entrepreneur is successful in getting the funding they set out for, an important lesson is that ‘some will, some won’t, who care, whose next?!’ There will always be opportunities to pitch for funding via different avenues and entrepreneurs are encouraged to be resilient and persistent.

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