By Metohuey Adoglo
The Mountain Hub, an African innovation hub, takes center stage as we explore the impact of ecosystem building across African markets. With a focus on creating an environment that nurtures partnerships and fosters innovation, the hub aims to drive economic development.
By facilitating collaboration, providing resources and infrastructure, and supporting startups and businesses, the Mountain Hub contributes to the cameroons progress. Within this edition, we delve into the Mountain Innovation Hub in Cameroon as a prime example of the hub’s mission. Prioritizing sustainability, this hub offers training and opportunities for startups and energy producers, empowering them to tackle Africa’s complex challenges. By transforming innovative ideas into thriving businesses, the hub propels progress and provides practical solutions.
Through personal inspirations, we set the stage for insightful conversations that shape the future of African innovation. Mountain Hub exemplifies the potential for collaboration, innovation, and shared vision, unlocking Africa’s full potential for a prosperous and technologically advanced future.
As the manager of Mountain Hub, Herbert Ambesi ensures the facilitation of collaboration, provision of resources and infrastructure, and unwavering support for startups and businesses. With his guidance, the hub plays a pivotal role in propelling Africa’s progress and embracing its potential.
Dreams Talks: How did the lack of collaboration and support in your work initially motivate you to establish a structure for addressing complex challenges in Africa, and what drives your interest in finding solutions that have both local and global impact?
Herbert Ambesi: Initially, we were motivated to address certain issues and take necessary actions. It became evident that there was a lack of collaboration and support in our work. However, the challenges grew even more complex in Africa. This led us to question why. Is it due to the emerging development in Africa and the lack of concerted efforts to find solutions to African problems? Hence, we established a structure to provide support for these discoveries. I am particularly interested in finding solutions that not only address specific problems but also have a global impact. Additionally, we are aware that many systems, even the most robust ones, can face challenges. The key lies in finding ways to overcome these obstacles and drive economic development.
Dreams Talks: How does the lack of support and funding for innovative ideas, coupled with the challenge of navigating business activities, impact the accomplishment of projects?
Herbert Ambesi: The lack of support and funding greatly hinders the accomplishment of projects. It becomes challenging when you have innovative ideas but no financial backing or resources to enhance and implement them. Dealing with all the aspects of the project becomes incredibly difficult. Additionally, understanding the intricacies of running a business is crucial. Many individuals receive funding but struggle to effectively manage their activities. It often leads to setbacks and the need to seek external support. Digitalization is another aspect that requires attention. While some countries, like Britain, have made progress in this area, it remains a challenge for Africa as a whole. Governments are responding, but there are still specific issues that need to be addressed, especially regarding finance.
Dreams Talks: How do you see the government’s role in driving innovation and supporting entrepreneurs in terms of establishing a strategic vision, providing infrastructure, funding, and facilitating the innovation process?
Herbert Ambesi: The government’s role in driving innovation and supporting entrepreneurs is paramount. It is the government’s responsibility to establish a strategic vision that guides technological advancement. Entrepreneurs should align themselves with this vision and actively engage with the government to foster collaboration. In addition to vision, the government must provide essential infrastructure that enables entrepreneurs to operate effectively. This includes reliable utilities, transportation networks, and digital connectivity. Funding is another crucial aspect where the government can step in to provide financial support, especially when private investment or venture capital is limited. Furthermore, the government should facilitate the innovation process by offering necessary resources and removing obstacles that hinder progress. It is vital that the government takes the lead in supporting innovation, creating an environment where entrepreneurs can thrive and contribute to the country’s overall development
Dreams Talks: How can the government and other stakeholders improve financing options, implement supportive policies, and address infrastructure gaps to foster a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem across the continent?
Herbert Ambesi: Mental health issues are overlooked in Africa, leading individuals to resort to quick money-making methods like engraving. Raising capital becomes challenging due to low confidence in African entrepreneurs and high interest rates. Infrastructure, such as reliable energy and transportation, provided by the government, is a significant problem. Implementation of policies supporting innovation is lacking, and competition from big brands hampers progress. Navigating legislation complexities makes it difficult to move between countries. Overcoming these obstacles requires building confidence, addressing mental health, improving financing options, and enforcing supportive policies for African entrepreneurs.
Dreams Talks: How can entrepreneurs actively engage with the government to ensure a collaborative and conducive environment for innovation and progress?
Herbert Ambesi: Quality and structure are crucial, and it’s important to acknowledge the government’s role in fostering a thriving tech sector. The government should drive innovation, establish a strategic vision, and provide support and recommendations. Entrepreneurs must align with this vision, engage with the government, and benefit from suitable infrastructure and funding options. The government’s facilitation is key, providing resources and removing obstacles. Innovation should be supported by the government, with entrepreneurs actively participating in government initiatives for successful collaboration and progress.
Dreams Talks: How can educational institutions effectively bridge the gap between theory and practical skills, and what measures can be taken to ensure collaboration between academia and industry
Herbert Ambesi: There is often suspicion about whether educational institutions are responsible for the lack of practical skills in students who end up struggling to find employment. To address this, collaboration between the education system and the industry is necessary. The first step is establishing research partnerships with industries to understand their realities and develop curricula that meet contemporary challenges. Institutions should also foster innovation and provide opportunities for students to gain practical experience through internships or collaborations with companies. It’s essential to bridge the gap between academia and industry, allowing individuals to easily transition from the classroom to the workplace and vice versa. Educational institutions have a responsibility to adapt their curricula and strike a balance between theory and practical skills. However, it’s important to acknowledge that not everything can be learned in school, and ongoing collaboration between academia and industry is necessary to continuously improve curricula and meet industry needs.
Dreams Talks: How do you navigate the challenges within the innovation structure and support system to ensure continuous progress and advancements in various sectors?
Herbert Ambesi: Research and innovation are key to progress. That’s why I actively engage in multiple research departments, focusing on different sectors to contribute to advancements and ensure their protection. Supporting future development is vital for everyone’s benefit. However, there are challenges with the innovation structure and support system that need to be addressed. We must work together to overcome roadblocks and pave the way for innovation. It’s important to maintain our commitment and perseverance in this pursuit. I believe that each step we take brings us closer to a brighter future.
Dreams Talks: How has the establishment of “The Circle” network contributed to fostering collaboration and connecting with the Cameroonian and broader African ecosystems?
Herbert Ambesi: Our efforts have led to the establishment of a strong network known as “The Circle.” This network fosters collaboration, not only within Cameroon but throughout Africa. Our goal is to connect with the Cameroonian ecosystem and the broader African ecosystem, leveraging our strengths and facilitating exchange. Private equity firms can play a crucial role in providing the necessary assistance, and we aim to be the kind of help that spans across the entire ecosystem. We are committed to developing programs that address the specific needs of African entrepreneurs across the continent.
— Africanian News (@africaniannews) July 3, 2023