Flavien Kouatcha Simo, emerges amongst the top 50 finalists for the Africa’s Business Heroes _ABH. This organization annually spotlights,trains, supports and gives African Entrepreneurs grant funding. Flavien Kouatcha spoke to Journal du Cameroon and threw more light on his ambitions as an entrepreneur.
The latter accumulates prizes and awards. Between the Entrepreneurship Award and the Digital Champion award for agriculture, this passionate entrepreneur of private initiative gave up the security of a well-paid job to develop a method that could allow farmers to achieve maximum returns. Flavien runs an agricultural company that designs and manufactures aquaponic units for individuals and professionals wishing to produce large-volume organic food as close as possible to sales areas.
You have won multiple awards already as an entrepreneur and today are a Top 50 finalist of the Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) award. Do you feel anything different or special about this, and what do you expect as an outcome?
Africa’s Business Heroes is a special competition because today it enjoys unprecedented recognition and notoriety on the continent. This year, we were more than 20,000 Africans from 0ther 54 countries of the continent to apply. Being in the Top 50 is already a great recognition of our efforts, but I intend to go even further in the competition because I want to represent the French-speaking entrepreneurs, young people from rural areas, and those whose voice is not always taken into account, whether they work on a daily basis to make positive changes happen on the continent. Thanks to this prize, we could have greater recognition, it would help us to sign partnerships with major institutions and to reach international stakeholders.
President Paul Biya in numerous speeches has called on young Cameroonians to invest in the Agricultural sector. Did his advice catalyse your ambitions in one way or the other? And has the government empowered your endeavors in any way possible?
President Paul Biya’s speeches have always been a compass for me as an entrepreneur. When you listen to him carefully, he gives directions on the future development of the country. This allows each entrepreneur who remains focused on his objectives, to seize the available opportunities. Today, we have the institutional support of the Cameroonian government. To this end, we have signed a partnership agreement with the Ministry of Youth and Civic Affairs for the training of 10,000 young people in aquaponics in 3 years, with the aim of setting up a continental network of certified producers. Our government has understood that our project can be a catalyst for the creation of sustainable jobs in the near future.
As a top 50 finalist for the ABH award, what are your projects in stock to effectively pull strings on Africa’s development?
In the next 3 years, our major project is the establishment of a network of certified producers on the African continent. Indeed, agriculture has shown to date that it’s practically the only sector capable of employing the critical mass of young people who arrive each year on the job market. We want to democratize the systems we have designed, whose potential for repeatability has already been proven so that every young person can earn money through a rewarding, economically profitable, and socially responsible agriculture.
Your Company is portrayed as one of the most impactful in Africa, what is your secret to success, and do you face any challenges?
Like all companies, we face significant challenges. But we are used in my team to tell ourselves that our challenges are up to our potential. To achieve such a level of success, we had to rely on 3 values: discipline (we all want to succeed but very few people are ready to make the necessary sacrifices to focus on the essentials), audacity (because we are in difficult environments where we don’t have everything within our reach so we have to fight to deserve what we earn) and finally humility with a good ability to develop your network because it is definitely important to know quality people.
Assuming you bag the first, second or third price worth 1.5 million US D, in what areas will this money help boost productivity hence stepping up Cameroon’s economy…
I deeply believe that we will finish in the Top 3 of the competition this year, because we have everything it takes, and we have prepared ourselves before applying. We’ve been waiting for this time for so long. Once this result is proven, the funds obtained will allow us to create an impact in the organic farming sector which is still very underdeveloped on the African continent, but also in research and development which doesn’t really benefit from insufficient funds in our sub-Saharan African countries. This is how we plan to create several dozen jobs and international franchises in the next 10 years.
What do you have to say to the youths out there nursing dream of becoming entrepreneurs?
My ultimate advice to anyone wanting to get into entrepreneurship is to get to know yourself and believe in yourself. The work that comes before our own success is done first inside ourselves. It’s for this reason that external successes follow internal successes. Our young people no longer believe, they no longer put in the effort when they want to achieve results. Some young people only see and admire the good life of certain people on social networks and the internet, yet fail to understand how these people get there. Every human should believe in himself and fight to transform his/her ideas into reality.