Project Launch Event
“POWERING PROSPERITY AND ECONOMIC FREEDOM FOR WOMEN AND YOUTHS- CAMEROON”
Date: January 19, 2023
Time slot: 12:30pm to 3:30pm
Venue: Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mvolyé – Yaoundé
The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Center at the Denis & Lenora Foretia Foundation is implementing a project titled ‘Powering Prosperity and Economic Freedom for Women and Youths in Cameroon” with the financial support of the Rising Tide Foundation and the John Templeton Foundation.
The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Center is moved by reports of widespread disparities in freedom to economic access, especially for women and youths. Borgne Project reported that 48% of Cameroonians were living below the poverty line (2017) and according to a report published by world bank, for Cameroon to be considered an emerging economy by 2035, the GDP would have to increase by at least 8% annually. At the same time, the country faces widespread disparities in freedom of economic access, especially for women. SMEs can fix these problems because they are key to addressing economic parity and GDP growth while making measurable progress towards improving freedom and meeting the SDGs. This bold statement is based on the fact that SMEs are the main economic drivers in Cameroon, but there are underperforming. In 2015, the Ministry of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, Social Economy and Handicraft reported that while 95% of Cameroon’s economy was generated through SMEs, SMEs only made up 36% of GDP. Regarding the report, Laurent Serges Etoundi Ngoa, the Minister, said: “If SMEs were to contribute 50% of GDP, we would already be an emerging country. 98% of Cameroon’s businesses are SMEs, and 90% of those SMEs are “micro” enterprises (entities with fewer than 5 employees).
Though business growth has been steadily rising for years, 50% of new businesses fail within 3 years. SMEs are the main vehicle for economic outputs, but they only have a small share of the economy and have a low success rate. This underperformance is a complex issue with multiple roots notably complex and high costly regulatory processes, underdeveloped human capital and access to finance.
When businesses fail, they can’t create jobs talk less of stable and decent jobs. It is therefore imperative to support the growth and stability of small and medium-sizes enterprises so that to ensure the demand side of unemployment/underemployment for women and youths.
SMEs have told us in various surveys that, along with a more supportive environment from political and financial institutions to formalize, they face a supply side issue for human capital. The workforce needs better business management and leadership capacity amongst other “21st Century” skills. As a leading incubator and policy think tank, our work addresses these multidimensional issues at the individual, community, and national levels.
Objectives of the launch event
The main objective for this launch event is to bring awareness and gain stakeholder engagement to the issues faced by SMEs and the needs of 21st century job seekers in Cameroon as outlined in the PPEF project planning documents.
The specific objectives are as follows:
- Inform the Cameroonian public of what the SMEs Flagship and Job Preparedness Bootcamp trainings offer as opportunities,
- Use the event as a platform to recruit additional members into the SBEC network
- Use the event as a platform for system change advocacy
- Use the event as a platform to network with other organizations supporting SMEs growth in Cameroon
- Use the event as a platform to network with other organizations supporting employability in Cameroon
Moderators of the event
Dr. Jean Cedric Kouam and Ms. Vanessa Forbin
The target audience for this event includes government officials, foreign diplomats, international organizations, civil society, academia, SMEs and job seekers.
There shall be a panel discussion during the launch event under the theme;
The path to SND30 – best practice in supporting SMEs to be sustainable in creating decent jobs in Cameroon