Exploring Ideas For Starting A Start-up

The Annual Entrepreneurship Week at AIMS Cameroon is an integral part of the job readiness training at the Center, which seeks to prepare students to be more entrepreneurial for the challenges in the business world. This series of capacity building workshops exposes the students at the Center to various foundational concepts in business development, capital sourcing, and start-up management.

The December 2020 edition of AIMS Cameroon’s Annual Entrepreneurship Week themed “Starting A Start-up” explored the various pillars of business idea generation and business sustainability. The Week was equally an opportunity for the AIMS Cameroon Industry Initiative to reach out and strengthen the center’s relationship with the local Start-up community. In this regard, the week took an unorthodox form, with a series of presentations from founders and CEO’s of thriving Start-ups around the South West Region of Cameroon, giving a theoretical and much needed practical feel to the lessons learnt during the Five Business Days from 15th to the 20th of December 2020.

Introducing Fundamental Concepts

The first of the workshops which introduced students to the fundamental concepts of design thinking also saw the class split into seven different groups (business units as they were called) and tasked with developing original business ideas which they had to pitch at the end of the workshop. These groups and later worked tirelessly through the week, to improve on their ideas and implement the different concepts being learnt during the Workshops.

Students discussing and fine-tuning business ideas with tutor.

Start-up Capital Sourcing and Pillars of Enterprise Sustainability

Following the successful start of the 2020 Entrepreneurship Week with a workshop on December 15th 2020 on the fundamental concepts of Design Thinking, the Second Day of the week focused on Capital Sourcing for Start-ups, with lectures on how to raise capital through the banks and other avenues. The main guest and expert on subject was Mr Tam Cedric, Branch Manager for one of Cameroon’s leading micro finance institutions. His lecture exposed participants to the different types of credit and how to prepare loan applications with the optimal chance of acceptance.

Mr Tam Cedric, Branch Manager for UNICS PLC Akwa, talking to students after his lecture on capital sourcing.

The Third Day of the entrepreneurship week saw first a continuation in the development of foundational concepts such as an introductory lesson on Business Model canvas creation and an exciting first encounter with a local entrepreneur, Fongoh Martin, Founder and CEO of the real estate platform Digital Renter. His talk titled “The Start-up Journey” highlighted out of personal experience the many different challenges with starting a start-up in Africa and how young entrepreneurs can go about overcoming some of these and equally dealing with the inevitable failures that come along the line.

“Too much money kills a start-up”_Fongoh Martin, seen here in the picture addressing students.

As the week neared its end, attention was steered to issues around management and with the major highlight being the guest lecture from another experienced entrepreneur, CEO and founder of COSDEF Group, Mr. Javnyuy Joybert. The experienced entrepreneur and trainer gave a lecture on the Pillars of Enterprise Sustainability. This lecture touched on the seven key ways in which Start-up managers can secure the future of their business by hiring engaging and retaining high performers who can support the vision and strategy of the company. These tools equally touched on the borderline aspects of self-management.

“Find where the world is going to and get there first, then teach others how to get there and make money”_ Javnyuy Joybert here in the picture captured during his lecture

Day Five of training saw participants take the wheels and host a Panel Discussion on “Start-up People and Vision Drivers” with Ms. Mpara Faith, Co-founder and sales representative for New Generation Technologies, and Mr. Marbrice Njume, Founder and President of Njume Group. This two-hour long session explored the challenges of managing a start-up and what people in positions of leadership must do in other to create a culture or leverage the existing culture of their organisation in generating value for stakeholders.

Stage view of Start-up People and Vision Drivers Panel with Host Boluwatife Joshua in the middle.

On the final day of the week, the students were tasked with pitching to a Panel of Experts, the business ideas they had generated and worked on throughout the week.

Students faced a panel of experts with the business ideas they had generated.