Some Cameroonian beneficiaries of the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship programme have applauded the initiative stating that it is perfect mentorship and funding opportunity for young Cameroonians with bankable and innovative business ideas that are feasible and financially scalable.
Since the programme was launched four years ago, 66 Cameroonians have so far benefited from the grant. 22 of them were selected in 2017, 19 were selected in 2015 while 25 were among 2016 beneficiaries.
Mbuih Zukane Retruyap, is a past beneficiary from Cameroon. He was picked last year for his project in waste management. During a chat with him, this reporter sought to know why he applied, how the programme has helped his business and his advice for others who wish to benefit from the opportunity.
Why did you apply for the programme and what is your business idea?
My initiative is about waste management. Basically what I do is recycling household wastes to produce biogas and bio manure through mechanisation /bio digestion. I applied for TEF entrepreneurship programme to scale my business idea and expand my scope.
Has the programmes scaled your business idea? How did it help you?
First of all I received a free online training on entrepreneurship, which culminated with a business plan. Today, I can bolster of being an entrepreneur. Thanks to the TEEP, I have developed other ideas like digitalizing my venture and including other aspects of waste management.
Lastly, the TEF made me $5000 richer…(smiles).
Now, what advice can you offer to other young Cameroonians who want to apply and wish be selected?
First things first, study entrepreneurship before applying. It’s a crude and the most competitive pan African award today. Last year 93,000 people applied for 1000 spaces and the number might double this year. So if you aspire to apply, think of making a difference. You can have a brilliant idea and experience, but once you don’t know how to write it down with entrepreneurship jargons, your chances will be jeopardized.
Also, mentorship is key. Cameroon is endowed with a plethora of entrepreneurship pundits. It’s vital to stick to a mentor to maximize your chances.
Another Cameroonian TEEP beneficiary, Ferdinand Ebot Besong, founder of Agro Education and Agro Vocational Training Centre, who was picked for his innovation in providing high quality Education and training on Agriculture ,to youths ,students and farmers organization, using high technological processes, said TEEP was an eye-opening experience that taught him a lot in the business world.
“The programme has enhanced my networking skills and has also refined within me the power to think beyond my imagination. The seed Capital of $5000 given by the foundation, aided in expanding my Business” the fine agriculture entrepreneur said.
Meanwhile, a host of other Cameroonian beneficiaries said the program opened their eyes to Africa’s potential in developing enterprises and the opportunities that can make a better life for their families, continent and the world at large. In the end, the beneficiaries all exhorted young entrepreneurs to transform their idea into a business through TEEP.
It should be noted that the time is now, as the foundation recently announced that is accepting applications for the fourth cycle of its 10-year, $100 million (circa 60 billion FCFA ) TEF Entrepreneurship Programme. In the announcement, applicants are exhorted to complete an online application at application.tonyelumelufoundation.org. The deadline is midnight (WAT) on 1 March 2018.