SMB Modernization in Cameroon
With more than 100,000 officially registered small businesses (SMB), the Cameroon economy has many SMB however less than 25% of them are able to satisfy banks requirements for process and financial transparency. Based on the above, most companies do not meet requirements to get loans they need from banks so they can grow their business. To address the above, the APME in collaboration with the UASG advisors, a Microsoft partner (with Offices in the US and Cameroon) and affiliated company of the US Cameroon Chamber of Commerce, launched a program with the goal of modernizing 20,000 small businesses by 2020 to strengthen the economy, create high paying middle class jobs.
Small and Medium Business (SMB) Modernization Program.
The SMB Modernization program was about creating financial transparency among the SMB market in Cameroon. This financial transparency will be provided in offering IT service based on Microsoft Applications. SMB in that will gain eligibility for some government offered incentives. One of the perks included facilitating access to funding for SMB once they are transparent and well positioned to grow their business. This was the first time Microsoft has launched such a program in an emerging country anywhere in the world hence they have committed significant resources in term of heavily discounted pricing and free Technical assistance to the SMB for 24 months through their 4Afrika program to ensure project success. Further, the program has turned into Microsoft CEO’s priority and consequently has Microsoft Executive attention. This is a unique opportunity for Cameroon.
At the end of Year 1, 100+ companies had modern websites and many also subscribed to the online CRM and free accounting system to manage their business. In addition, UASG trained more than 40 graduates so they can drive the program and train their peers to sustain the growth and a create startups serving the SMB in the program.