David O’Sullivan speaks to the CEO of Riversands Incubation Hub.
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  • David O’Sullivan in conversation with Jenny Retief, the CEO of Riversands Incubation Hub.

David O’Sullivan in conversation with Jenny Retief, the CEO of Riversands Incubation Hub.


David O’Sullivan was in conversation with Jenny Retief, the CEO of Riversands Incubation Hub.

Jenny has written a piece of five ‘truths’ she wishes Entrepreneurs knew about funding.

Truth 1: There is funding available

A recent report by the online funding matchmaker Finfind, shows that only 1% of SMEs access formal financing, and 87% do not access financing – many by choice, as they do not believe they will be successful.  Yet there are more than 300 different business funding products out there, with a pool of capital available to entrepreneurs from both the private and public sectors. Even if you are not a match for more traditional finance vehicles, financial technology innovations such as Rainfin, Merchant Capital or Lululend, have introduced a number of new funding models that may work for you.

Truth 2: Becoming fundable is a process

Funders request various supporting documents from entrepreneurs in order to assess the business’s eligibility for funding. The funder needs to examine whether the business is bankable, if it can afford the funding it is applying for, and to determine the credit risk. This means there is a huge amount of effort involved in preparing a business to be funding ready. It’s really important to work on having sound financial habits – in both your personal and business life. Most funders will also run credit checks on the entrepreneurs themselves. Make sure you separate your business from your personal bank account or find the right accountant to produce regular books. Getting funding ready is a process; most entrepreneurs need guidance to go through the steps.

Truth 3: Funding will not make your business a success

Yes, funding is critically important, but it’s not the silver bullet that many believe it to be. If you receive the funding, how will you best spend it? How will you pay it back? Too often funding is used to support an entrepreneur’s lifestyle, and not to grow the business. If you need funding to pay yourself a salary, then there is something fundamentally wrong. Having regular customers is what is really going to transform your business, and they don’t need a funding application to support you.

Truth 4: Too much funding is a bad thing

While an influx of money in the bank is very welcome, too much money with terms is a bad thing. It is possible to overfund a business, which can make the repaying terms difficult. Too much money can dampen the natural entrepreneurial appetite to drive growth, while also encouraging wasteful spending decisions.

Truth 5: You don’t need funding to be an entrepreneur

There are many examples of substantial companies that were started with very little money in the bank. If you want to be an entrepreneur, the time to start is now. This can mean gaining work experience in an industry that interests you, putting in late hours to work on an idea, or stashing some start-up capital. You don’t necessarily need to be ‘all in’ and to leave employment in order to succeed. Perhaps a healthier way to look at it is to consider yourself to be on a journey to becoming an entrepreneur

Jenny Retief

About Riversands incubation hub

Riversands Incubation Hub is a large-scale business incubator established in 2015 through a partnership between Century Property Developments and National Treasury’s The Jobs Fund. The Hub is currently home to over 160 small businesses, with many more entrepreneurs supported through business development programmes and support services.

The Hub is located at the center of the Riversands Commercial Park. The primary intention of the incubator is to create a strong, enabling eco-system which fosters the development of high-potential enterprises.

A wide variety of industries is represented by the businesses at the Hub and industry clusters have emerged amongst the entrepreneurs. For example, there are a number of businesses in the home décor space as well as the IT, engineering and professional services industries.

Jenny has written a piece of five ‘truths’ she wishes Entrepreneurs knew about funding.

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