Training youths in entrepreneurship in Douala, which is one of the main cities of the West and Central Africa nation of the Republic of Cameroon, La Tribune Des Savoirs, an organization focused on exposing youth to entrepreneurship from February 2010, took part in World Entrepreneurship Day last Saturday by organizing a seminar workshop. The workshop, entitled “Dynamic Youths and Entrepreneurship Horizon 2035,” provided a platform of exchange for job seekers to develop the spirit of entrepreneurship and learn ethical values with some 100 young Cameroonians in attendance.
Chief Executive Officer of La Tribune Des Savoirs Jean Paulin Jiotsa (pictured in top picture forth from left, first row) told NewsOne, “Most youths in Cameroon do not have adequate skills to create and manage their own enterprises. With this initiative, therefore, we want to provide and equip the Cameroonian youth with long and lasting entrepreneurial skills each year, with the goal of making them job creators and not job seekers.”
Guest speakers presented on topics, such as good and ethical entrepreneurship practice, techniques of writing a good business plan, mentorship, coaching, legislature on setting up an enterprise, seeking funding, and more.
Mrs. Tanyi of MONDE UNI, who is also the owner of a number of schools and colleges, shared her experience of being a successful entrepreneur. Tanyi, whose contribution to Cameroon’s economy cannot be overstated, recounted her humble beginnings. “I started by selling ground nuts and the little profits I made helped me acquire education, and today, I own schools, colleges, and enterprises in the country. I create jobs [rather than look] for jobs.”
Her story fascinated the youths at the event, and they promised to use her example to build and create their own enterprises in the future.
Targeting students in schools, colleges, and universities has been the top priority of La Tribune Des Saviors. Therefore, Jiotsa added, “So far we have created 14 entrepreneurship clubs in 14 educational institutions in five out of 10 regions in the country, where students take it upon themselves with our guidance to elaborate and implement their different programs. So we only come in to coach and direct them so that significant results can be achieved. In the years coming, we intend to be present in the remaining five regions in the country.”
A variety of school club president presentations showed that they have learned significant entrepreneurship tips and initiatives when they were able to elaborate on activities and plans for the coming years. In addition, participating students were inspired to become successful entrepreneurs. After brainstorming in small groups on how to overcome obstacles that hinder them from eventual success, the best students received awards for their club projects.
Through the Ministry of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Social Economy and Handicraft, the Cameroon government encourages such initiatives and provides funds to some of the awardees whose projects are selected by a ministerial committee.
By 2020, Cameroon hopes to reduce the unemployment rate of 3.8 percent, according to the World Bank in 2010, with the yearly creation of thousands of jobs in the formal sector. In addition, events such as these work to fulfill incumbent President Paul Biya‘s vision to make the Central African country emerge in the year 2035.