Notable over the weekend was the convergence of droves of young aspiring entrepreneurs from different Regions and walks of life at the Chamber of Commerce, Yaoundé. Inter alia, these youngsters had a common purpose: to imbibe knowledge and skills on how to lure investors to fall in love with their business ideas/projects.
Now in its 3rd edition, the Arcadia Workshop Series of Saturday 3rd March 2019, the theme of which was, ‘attracting investment for your enterprise’, handled three quintessential areas in business. That is, (1). business registration and business tax management (by Dr. Mathias Mondo); (2). funding types and managing of investors (by Christian Ngan); and (3). how to prepare a perfect investor pitch (by Javnyuy Joybert). The sessions were moderated by Ayah Abine, a youth animator and empowerment coach.
An engaging mob dance set the pace of the day….
The époque-making event was spiced with group sessions. In 10 minutes, each group developed and presented a one-minute unique business pitch, that could win the confidence and interest of potential investors. At the end, The Legends, whose elevator pitch was on a Simplified Online Approach to Educational Success (SOATES), carried the day.
Despite the huge unharnessed potentials and gorgeous opportunities that entrepreneurship offers, insufficient financing remains a major setback to entrepreneurial success in Africa, especially when it comes to new businesses. Thus, it was in acknowledgement of such truism that this exceptional project was initiated and accomplished to redress the challenge, thanks to Arcadia Cameroon (the brain-child of Pam Happi, affectionately called Miss P) in partnership with Orange Cameroon, Rural Women Development Center (RUWDEC) – Cameroon, Eneo Cameroon, and The Miss P Show.
Face painting…. Creativity and talent display.
Previous workshops in the series were respectively held on 3rd June 2018, at Chariot Hotel, Buea under the theme ‘branding: what’s the difference that makes the difference?’; and on 17th November 2018, at the Orange Technical Headquarters, Makepe Douala on the theme, ‘digital marketing: spend less, optimise your market.’
The Buea outing in June 2018
The Douala meeting in November 2018.
Though no human endeavour is ever perfect, the common denominator of testimonies and facial expressions from different participants was that the event was fun-filled and fulfilled.
Ngosong Clement, a partaker at the Arcadia Cameroon event indicated that ‘‘it’s rare to find a workshop [where] you’re trained and given opportunity to practice at the spot. The fact that [we were given] a real-time simulation to apply the new knowledge was spectacular. My take home message was that ‘we just need to start.’ I loved the challenging pitch competition. It gave me an opportunity to face my fear: public speaking. I took in a proactive role in my team and decided to lead even though I was the youngest of all. I was able to address a population of over 100 with a wonderful idea.’’
According to Nnane Ntube, one of the participants, ‘it was really fun. The organisers understood the needs of the participants, they knew exactly how to tackle play and learning, [and] …how to capture [participants’] interests and keep them glued to their chairs till the end without [being tired]…. Even [at] the end, participants wanted more. They didn’t want to leave the venue. Everything was so relevant, and participants could [inter]relate.’
Quizzed on her take home message, Nnane said hers was as entrepreneurs, they ought to know their enterprise more than anybody else.
‘Never be afraid to start alone. Start small, learn fast, grow fast. Let taxes not be an impediment to your growth. Don’t care about the taxes as you start up your business, take risks and make it big’, Nnane stated.
She also revealed that her most favourite slot during the working session was the painting phase.
‘It was inspirational and relaxing. I had never painted before. It was a phase of talent discovery. This is what makes the workshop different from other workshops. Participants were actors and not observers’, Nnane concluded.
Selfies also stole the show.
In the words of Joshua Wun, another participant, the occasion ‘…was very engaging and facilitated networking amongst participants.’
He went ahead to indicate that what he learned was that ‘you don’t need money to start, you need money to grow your [business]. Just start [the business]! People don’t need resources first: they have to first of all be resourceful’, Joshua asserted.
‘Getting firsthand information from entrepreneurs who are already excelling in the field’, was what was of peculiar interest to Pertulla Ezigha.
Pertulla said her take home package was that nothing limited her dreams. If she kept waiting for the big cash to start, then she might never get the experience that would enable her to get the big cash that can support her vision.
Business idea pitching competition: walking the talk.
As opined by Fabien Wandi (whose group, The Legends, won the Pitching Competition), there wasn’t any gainsaying that the workshop was one of its kind.
‘Even those whose business knowledge were just above zero can boast of a 50% knowledge to start a business and pitch a business. Many entrepreneurs were raised from that workshop,’ Fabien emphasized.
According to Fawoh Nancy, the workshop ‘was well organized and the fun interludes between made it more engaging. The speakers were amazing…[and provided] honest and straight responses to questions. I enjoyed every bit…. [The sessions] got me thinking I must be worth funding before I can get funding. Also, I must be creating or adding value to whatever industry I operate in as an entrepreneur.’
One of the most sensational paintings of the day: thanks to Mrs. Sophie Ngassa’s artistry, with George Neba as specimen.
On his part, Praise Nembo indicated that the presentation on pitching caught him most. He went home with the message that he should start [small, learn quick,] and grow fast.
‘The opportunity that was given us to network and bring up a project’, was Praise’s most favourite.
The moments were also spiced with a dance mob, face painting, selfies, networking, and culinary delights.
Mouth-smacking and finger-licking was indispensable.
‘The Legends’ won the best prize for their business pitch (on SOATES).
Photo credit: Arcadia Cameroon, plus other participants.