Washington, DC | The Hilton | July 30th, 8:00am
Scores of Cameroonian professionals in the diaspora and their foreign connections poured into the conference hall at The Hilton in Washington, D.C. The congress had been organized for the purpose of taking a keen look into the biggest issues facing Cameroonian communities both domestically and abroad. ActivSpaces had been invited to participate in a panel discussion on business creation, expansion and entrepreneurship. While we couldn’t all travel the skies to be there, we were all present via Skype.
The Cameroon Professional Society
The CPS is an association that seeks to transform Cameroonian communities by exploiting the expertise, leadership and extensive networks of the diaspora. With a firm belief in the strength of our collective union, the CPS focuses on nurturing a robust web of patriotic leaders and entrepreneurs. As the vanguard in the ICT4D and youth entrepreneurship movement in Cameroon, ActivSpaces was eager to participate in the 2011 annual congress organized by the CPS.
Business Creation, Expansion & Entrepreneurship
ActivSpaces had the opportunity of presenting some of the pipeline projects from the incubator to the CPS Congress attendees and was physically represented by Leslie Tita, CEO of usePulse.com (an academic network designed to enhance social education). The projects presented will be available for review on the upcoming section of this website — “Profiles”.
More important than the projects we presented was the message that we had for the diaspora:
The lacking ingredients for explosive entrepreneurial success in Cameroon are mentoring and venture capital.
In touch with modern technology, media and business practices, Cameroon’s young professionals have tailored solutions for the African marketplace. With the right degree of coaching and the courage to take risk in investment, these may very well turn out to be highly successful enterprises. In April, Forbes blogger Mfonobong Nsehe wrote an article titled “Why Africa May Never Produce a Facebook, Groupon, Zynga or Google” and he cited the absence of venture capital firms as an underlying cause. We’ve seen platforms like VC4Africa take the lead in bridging the gap between entrepreneurs and investors but we haven’t seen enough investors coming to meet entrepreneurs in the middle of that bridge. So what is the way forward?
The Diaspora Fund
The CPS and ActivSpaces are planning the creation of the Diaspora Fund, a venture capital firm that leverages the joint power of the diaspora; brings together professionals who understand social enterprise and modern capitalism vis-à-vis African business culture; and provides a legitimate channel for the discovery, appraisal and funding of lucrative projects. We are calling on the whole community, especially the members of the AfriLabs alliance to get Ubuntu on this one. Africa in its entirety could benefit from a diaspora fund and see solutions rolling out by the terabyte. The CPS and ActivSpaces have decided its time this possibility became a reality.
Follow our progress on Twitter: @ActivSpaces