In the vibrant realm of “Dreams Talks,” we bring you an inspiring journey led by Gilles LEWAT, the ingenious mind behind “Youth Business Cameroon.” This captivating tale unfolds in a quest to conquer the complex challenges of youth unemployment and underemployment in Cameroon. Gilles LEWAT’s brainchild, a non-governmental organization founded in 2005, is revolutionizing the landscape by nurturing a new breed of trailblazers, job creators, and community leaders.
But how do they achieve such an audacious mission? What tangible impact does this transformative endeavor have on eradicating poverty and curbing social crime in the region? Prepare to embark on a compelling exploration as we engage with the driving force, Gilles LEWAT, to uncover the secrets behind this visionary initiative.
Dreams Talks: Can you tell us more about the mission and objectives of Youth Business Cameroon and how it’s addressing the issue of youth unemployment and underemployment in Cameroon?
Gilles LEWAT: Founded in 2005, Youth Business Cameroon empowers young Cameroonian entrepreneurs. The organization addresses youth unemployment and underemployment by promoting entrepreneurship. It focuses on creating socially responsible businesses to combat poverty-related social crimes. Youth Business Cameroon provides youth with training, personalized support, and access to finance through partnerships with financial institutions. Their objectives encompass encouraging youth entrepreneurship, developing entrepreneurial skills, supporting sustainable businesses, and facilitating financial access. The organization’s overarching goals include poverty reduction, strengthening entrepreneurial capacity, promoting gender equality, and creating sustainable micro-enterprises. Through these efforts, it contributes to economic growth and a reduction in social crimes.
Dreams Talks: Given the challenges such as administrative red tape and corruption in the private sector, how does Youth Business Cameroon empower young entrepreneurs to overcome these obstacles and successfully run their businesses?
Gilles LEWAT: Youth Business Cameroun assists young entrepreneurs in navigating red tape and corruption by offering tailored support throughout their business startups. The organization collaborates closely with these entrepreneurs to ensure they comprehend administrative requirements and complete necessary paperwork accurately. In tackling corruption, it educates young entrepreneurs on the associated risks and consequences while promoting ethical business practices. Youth Business Cameroun also guides them through the legal and transparent procedures required for authorizations and interactions with relevant authorities. Additionally, the organization partners with reliable financial institutions to facilitate access to legitimate and fair financing, reducing the risk of corruption. In essence, Youth Business Cameroon equips young entrepreneurs with support, legal guidance, and financing access to manage businesses ethically and efficiently.
Dreams Talks: Youth involvement is a key focus for your organization. Could you elaborate on the ways in which Youth Business Cameroon engages and supports young people, particularly those between 18 and 35 years old, to become job creators and leaders in their communities?
Gilles LEWAT: Youth Business Cameroun is committed to empowering young entrepreneurs on their path to becoming community leaders and job creators. The organization achieves this by conducting awareness and training sessions, covering essential entrepreneurial skills such as financial management and marketing. They provide personalized coaching with experienced mentors and ensure access to resources, including financing and professional networks. Regular networking events facilitate collaboration, while promoting social entrepreneurship encourages young people to address community issues sustainably. Youth Business Cameroun’s Startup Weekend program, extending to over 10 towns, has already guided more than 1,000 young innovators to transform ideas into startups, reinforcing its commitment to youth development.
Dreams Talks: Can you share some examples of success stories or specific initiatives that demonstrate the positive impact your organization has had in terms of poverty reduction and creating economic opportunities for the youth in Cameroon?
Gilles LEWAT: We have a number of young people who have come out of or participated in our programs, notably our initiatives during Global Entrepreneurship Week as GEN (Global entrepreneurship Network) Cameroon and especially startup weekwend program, who have gone on to interesting careers and are still going strong several years on.
One of Cameroon’s first crowdfunding platforms, Guanxi Invest (https://vc4a.com/ventures/guanxi-investment/?lang=fr ), was one of the winners of our many startup weekends edition, and is now a recognized player in Central Africa’s Fintech sector.
Our impact can also be measured in the number of young people who used to be discouraged or depressed about not finding work after graduating, but today, thanks to our many programs and the support of Cameroon’s Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises (our number one partner), are turning to entrepreneurship and becoming wealth creators.
Dreams Talks: Your organization also aims to reduce social crimes linked to poverty, such as theft and prostitution. How does Youth Business Cameroon’s work contribute to achieving these social objectives and improving the overall well-being of the youth in Cameroon?
Gilles LEWAT: Youth Business Cameroun fights poverty-related social crimes by providing young individuals with economic alternatives. They empower youth through business training, financing, and mentoring, helping them create sustainable enterprises and stable job opportunities. By promoting social responsibility, entrepreneurs address community needs, reducing crimes like theft and prostitution. Youth Business Cameroun’s commitment to offering viable economic opportunities improves young people’s well-being, enabling them to escape poverty’s grasp and contribute to their communities’ progress and development.
They actively engage youth aged 18-35, offering awareness sessions, coaching, access to resources, and promoting social entrepreneurship. Success stories, like Guanxi Invest, illustrate their impact in empowering young Cameroonians to pursue entrepreneurship. Youth Business Cameroon combats poverty-driven social crimes through training, financial access, and mentorship, contributing to young people’s well-being and community development.
Dreams Talks Conclusion
Youth Business Cameroon, under the dedicated leadership of Gilles LEWAT, is not merely addressing youth unemployment; it is fostering a generation of young entrepreneurs who are becoming job creators and leaders within their communities. The organization’s multifaceted approach, including awareness-raising, training, personalized coaching, and access to resources, is making a substantial impact on the economic and social landscape of Cameroon.
Their success stories and initiatives, like the Startup Weekend program, illustrate the transformative power of providing young people with the tools and knowledge to turn their ideas into thriving businesses. Furthermore, by actively combating poverty-driven social crimes, Youth Business Cameroon is contributing to the well-being of the youth and the overall development of Cameroon. It’s not just about creating jobs; it’s about breaking the cycle of economic dependency and insecurity that can lead to criminal activities, thereby fostering a safer and more prosperous society.
Thank you all for your continuous support in keeping this project *alive, free and independent.* For your dreams matter, your stories matter! pic.twitter.com/BdDt25bFkb
— Africanian News (@africaniannews) October 5, 2023