The startup scenario in Cameroon has been changing gradually in the recent years with the growth in entrepreneurial activities among the youths. Many ventures have been started and more are coming up. All is not actually rosy as most of the entrepreneurs have one big problem – funding. How entrepreneurs fund their projects is one very difficult task.
Raising capital to fund their business idea has been one of the deterrent factors entrepreneurs in Cameroon have been facing. How then do the few entrepreneurs that have their businesses running get finance to start? This is something many people don’t talk about. What is common is the various sources of finance for entrepreneurs. Which of course we know are banks, venture capital, angel investors, etc.
But then, most of the entrepreneurs I know didn’t start by getting finance from these sources. In reality, most of these entrepreneurs fund their projects in Cameroon using the following methods that I will outline below to fund their business ventures.
Most start-ups don’t need that much capital to get started. In such a case, the Founders’ personal savings serves as the most common source of capital. They prefer to use their own savings than get help from family members and friends or loans from banks. Some of them do small jobs outside their business and then invest it into their ventures. It should be noted that it is very difficult to get external funding for an idea you have not yet tested, hence why entrepreneurs fund their businesses themselves before going in for external funds.
Depending on what the entrepreneur aspires for and the demands of the industry, they may need to get extra funding to fully commercialize their business. In such a case, entrepreneurs fund their projects by applying for external funding that comes in the form of debt capital. Most of the entrepreneurs go in for debt financing in the form of borrowing from family members, friends, thrifts and loans societies or from Njangi (Rotational Credit Association, ROCSA) houses – which is very common. On rare occasions from banks (micro-finance in particular).
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