Cameroon: Foretia Foundation SBEC Officials Heighten Preparation for SMEs flagship, Job preparedness Bootcamp Launch

By Boris Esono Nwenfor & Sonita Ngunyi Nwohtazie

The 3-year project will train thousands of Cameroonian SMEs

Officials of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Centre, SBEC, of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation are in high gear for the launch of the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, SMEs, flagship and job preparedness boot camp training on January 19, 2023.

Speaking to Pan African Visions reporter on January 5, 2023, Nick Andoh, Project Lead said: “Over the festive break most of the staff members were not on a break because we had to work around the clock. We’ve been having calls, late-night meetings on phone on WhatsApp.”

“We have been discussing and making sure that we have all the panellists of high quality to be available. We have been sending invitations, dropping invitations left and right to get participants of the calibre that we need for the launch event.”

Shawn Stephenson, Founder and Board Chair of the Rising Tide Foundation; Isabelle Hirs-Schaller, Senior program Manager -Freedom in Practice, Rising Tide Foundation and Foretia Foundation Co-Chair Dr Denis Foretia

The project from the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Centre according to the Foretia Foundation seeks to build a more robust and diverse middle class, foster economic freedom and empower women and youth. It will particularly focus on vulnerable populations, especially those internally displaced as a result of the ongoing armed conflict in the North West and South West regions of the country.

For the past years, the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Centre has been engaging youths and women in entrepreneurship with a focus on business management, tax systems and access to finance. SBEC has also organized webinars with a focus on the challenges of female entrepreneurs in Cameroon, the Economic Impact of COVID-19 on Entrepreneurship in Cameroon and the way forward and more.

Nick Andoh, Project Lead added: “We’ve been having stand-up meetings to ensure that the inaugural training as well is top notch and everyone is putting hands on deck and we see that it’s going to be a blast; we’re very excited about this project, and we hope that Cameroonian women and youths would be excited to join the project, to benefit from it because this is their project. We want to empower as many women and youths as we can and we will not sleep until we make this happen.”

“This year our objective is right up there; we want them in their thousands we feel capable yet feeling the heat of course because it’s a tough ask to support and bring out economic empowerment and freedom to thousands of people but we’re feeling up to the challenge back here at the office.”

The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Center (SBEC) was founded to support SMEs across the country and to promote business-friendly policies that stimulate innovation and job creation. Through the SBEC Network, member SMEs receive training and administrative support to increase productivity and efficiency.

The 3-year project will train 1600 Cameroonian SMEs through SBEC’s flagship SME Program and provide job and entrepreneurial soft skills training to 4,500 women and youth. 30 promising SME leaders who complete the flagship training will be eligible to receive a seed grant of FCFA 1,500,000 to strengthen their organizational structure. The project will also focus on reducing the cost of registering and starting a business by half to improve the overall business environment in the country.

Through the SBEC Network, member SMEs receive training and administrative support to increase productivity and efficiency

About the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation

The Denis & Lenora Foretia Foundation was established to catalyze Africa’s economic transformation by focusing on social entrepreneurship, science and technology, innovation, public health, and progressive policies that create economic opportunities for all. The foundation works in partnership with local governments, policymakers, private enterprises, civil society organizations as well as development partners to expand the resources available to entrepreneurs, farmers, and small business owners in addition to improving individual livelihoods.

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