In another groundbreaking outing, Small Business and Entrepreneurship Center (S-BEC) convened an extensive range of proprietors of Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs) on Friday 24th May 2019, at the headquarters of Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation, Simbock Yaoundé.
Top on the agenda was the grooming of small and medium size business operators on basic entrepreneurial skills. Experts in the domain elucidated on — how to transform their businesses into outstanding brands, meeting up with business registration requirements and tax formalities, basic bookkeeping for small businesses, attracting customers and investors to their ventures, etc.
Mosaic participants during the training….
This training owed its essence partly due to the fleeting nature of most businesses in Cameroon. Indeed, statistics shows that 72.2 percent of small businesses — those with less than 20 employees and total annual revenues less than FCFA10,000,000 (or $20,000) — created between 2010 and 2016 have disappeared today. Fraser Institute’s 2017 Economic Freedom Report for example indicates that Cameroon is amongst the least business-free environs. In terms of ease of doing business, World Bank in its 2019 report ranked Cameroon 166th on 190 world economies — with a score of 47.78 out of 100 points, depicting that Cameroon still faces challenges on several fronts. However, amidst the stifling business environment due to excessive government regulation are other hurdles like inappropriate entrepreneurial and managerial skills needed to efficiently run and sustain such businesses.
Besides, glaring realities indicate that the enormous potentials inherent in this sector have unfortunately not been fully-harnessed cognizant that SMEs contribute around 36% of Cameroon’s GDP, make-up over 90% of businesses in Cameroon, employ above 60% of the population — and with above 70% of them still operate informally.
The sessions were very interactive….
Thus, for the creativity, innovation, growth, and sustainable development of SMEs in Cameroon, promoting economic freedoms and providing training in the right business/entrepreneurial skills are imperative. Reason why S-BEC, a business incubation hub which focuses on equipping entrepreneurs and small business owners with organizational and business management skills that promote a free enterprise society organized a training on ‘basic entrepreneurial skills for small business holders’ — in accordance with Denis & Lenora Foretia Foundation’s mission of ‘catalyzing Africa’s economic transformation: by focusing on social entrepreneurship, science and technology, innovation, public health, and the implementation of progressive policies that together create economic opportunities for all.’
Experts (Mr. Edison Ngeh (bottom left), Mr. Javnyuy Joybert (top right), Dr. Sosthene Ahanda (bottom centre, in red), and George Neba (top left)) imparting knowledge and skills to participants….
A distinctive feature at the event was the exhibition stand — a side attraction at the end which created much sensation, and provided a platform for participants to network, showcase their commodities, offer their services, and pitch their businesses.
Visits to exhibition stand…. It was also a much-awaited moment!
At the end, participants were unanimous that the game was worth the candle….
‘…It was really an event worth attending. Thanks again [S-BEC] and Foretia Foundation. It was a great time well spent’, Mbila Donald (participant from Ndop, North West Region).
‘I actually gathered much to help me step up my make-up business’, Abre Eunice said. ‘When I started business, I was doing bookkeeping, but later stopped it. With the knowledge I got from the training about the importance of bookkeeping, I will start it…again’, Eunice revealed. ‘I also learned how to brand and market my products’, Eunice concluded.
‘I will be an ambassador for [S-BEC] and the Foundation’, stated Faycal Pepouna (a participant who came all the way from Dschang, West Region).
Cynthia Sirri Mbonefor stated that ‘it was a memorable event.’ She also disclosed that she acquired new skills on ‘…attracting customers and investors in business starting with [one’s] own money, understanding the market, and keeping clear financial records….’
‘It was an honour to serve’, Javnyuy Joybert (who trained on attracting customers and investors for one’s business).
‘…My sincere gratitude to the Denis & Lenora [Foretia] Foundation for…such a wonderful gathering to equip small and medium size [business] operators in Cameroon with basic entrepreneurial skills. I gathered a lot from the coordinators such as, how to register a company, business bookkeeping, and most especially, how to attract customers and many other things. Once more, thanks and I wish the Foundation a long life’, Toh Mathias, founder of The Light World Consulting.
Photo Credit: Graphics team of Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation