FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 16-11-16
2017 SAMA RANDY YOUTH WRITE CONTEST
Better Breed Cameroon a youth-led, youth-focused philanthropic initiative is relaunching its annual youth essay competition against 2017. Taking previous feedback into consideration, the association has decided to launch the contest earlier to give contestants two months to work on a prize winning essay.
This annual essay competition named in memory of pioneer Better Breed member Sama Randy challenges undergraduate students of all higher institutions in Cameroon to ponder and write on socio-economic and political issues trending in the country in a bid to encourage critical consciousness in young people. This edition’s question reads:
‘In Your Opinion, What Is The Greatest Threat To Peace And Security In Cameroon? How Can It Be Averted?’
Thus inviting respondents to forward original ideas and solutions to addressing what is now a pressing issue faced by our nation.
As always, the competition requires essay responses to be a minimum of 1000 words (roughly two pages) and a maximum of 1500 words in English. All submissions should be made by emailed attachments to the association’s email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. The subject of the email should read: ‘Sama Randy Youth Write Contest Submission 2017’ and the email body needs to outline the name, contact number, age, degree program and higher institution to which the respondent belongs.
This year’s competitors stand to win one of three prizes; 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prize of 100.000, 75.000 and 50.000 francs respectively. The submissions will be graded based on content and presentation of arguments, spelling, grammar and compliance with rules of submission.
The deadline for submission has been set for the 11th of January 2017. Winners will be contacted in the first week of February 2017 and awarded on 11th February 2017- the National Youth Day.For more information on the essay contest, please contact Better Breed Cameroon using their email address: email@example.com or send them a message on their Facebook page Better Breed Cameroon.
The following essay by Ubangoh Thursie Abanjoh- an 18 year old studying for a degree in Management at the Catholic University of Cameroon, Bamenda – won the 1st Prize (of 100.000 FCFA) of the 2016 Sama Randy Youth Write Essay Competition.
Let’s know what you think of this prize winning essay!
Can Cameroonians Entrepreneur their way a brighter future? Why and why not
Essay by Ubangoh Thursie Abanjoh
The root of most successful economies in the world is business. The word entrepreneurship means “to undertake.” In a business context, it means to start a business. Thus entrepreneurship can be defined in simple terms as the ability and willingness to develop, organize and manage a business venture along with any of its risks in order to make a profit. Entrepreneurial spirit is made up of innovation and risk taking. This is very essential for the growth of an economy given that the world is a global village. Given the economic situation of Cameroon, it causes one to ponder whether Cameroonians can entrepreneur their way into a brighter future. Is this possible?
Firstly, entrepreneurship or otherwise, business entities contribute to national employment. Entrepreneurship does not only create employment to the business owner but also to those who participate in the business such as the employees. This goes a long way to improve the standards of living of the employees through their income. When members of an economy have a high living standard, that economy is said to be prospering. Therefore, Cameroonians can entrepreneur their way into a brighter future as a result of improvement in living standards.
Secondly, entrepreneurship increases the national income of an economy. Businesses can help increase national income through the taxes they pay to the government and also, they attract foreign capital investment which increases productivity and value addition in the economy thus increasing national income through finances raised. This increment in national income will lead to an increase in economic development like increased government investment on health, roads and education. One can say therefore that, Cameroonians can secure a bright future through entrepreneurship as a result of the increase in national income it brings.
Furthermore, entrepreneurship calls for more entrepreneurship and its benefits alongside it. Cameroon is a dynamic society and the entrepreneurial spirit spreads like a chain of reaction. Once a few Cameroonians create their own business entities and are successful, others are attracted to create theirs. Examples of existing enterprises which have acted as an inspiration and continues to inspire other Cameroonians to become entrepreneurs are Fokou ltd, Guarantee express ltd and Kendely Construction Company just to name a few. Thus once people are inspired and begin to create their own business, so does the benefits of entrepreneurship follow. Therefore, once the entrepreneurial spirit continues to grow along with its benefits, so does the Cameroonian future become brighter and better.
Finally, entrepreneurship does not only bring economic development indirectly through the government, but they also have a direct social impact in the economy through creating and participating in entrepreneurial networks, investing in community projects, and giving to local charities. This thus supports the members of the society psychologically and financially. Therefore, through this social impact, entrepreneurship is able to help better the lives of members of the society through the various investments in community projects like water, health or local road projects thus societal development. Therefore, one can say that, entrepreneurship can help Cameroonians pave a way for a brighter future.
Though, the benefits of entrepreneurship can help Cameroonians gain grounds on a brighter future, there are some things or situations that if not handled, will prevent Cameroonians from securing a bright future for them through entrepreneurship. So, what could be these issues retarding entrepreneurial growth?
Firstly, copyright, patents, and trade mark violations is a threat to entrepreneurship in Cameroon today. People use their efforts and creativity to come up with ideas maybe the discovery of new products, writing of inspiring articles, or creation of a successful brand and others just wait to copy and use these ideas. This goes a long way to reduce the benefits the author of these ideas have on them. This thus discourages most aspiring entrepreneurs as they feel that before they start benefiting from their investments, someone starts reaping them as a result of these copyright, patents and trade mark violations. Thus, since Cameroonians are discouraged to invest in business entities, it is difficult for them to entrepreneur their way into a bright future.
Secondly, inadequate sources of finances have prevented most Cameroonians from putting their entrepreneurial ideas into reality. The foundation of every business is capital. But not everyone has access to capital. There are few investment banks and entrepreneurial support agencies in Cameroon. Also, the banks and microfinance’s give most loans on strict terms and high interest rates which the investor cannot cover. Thus making it difficult for aspiring entrepreneurs to finance their business. Also, those who have little finances are discouraged by the over beaurocracy in creating businesses in Cameroon which open ways for over expenditure and corruption in starting a business. Thus, since Cameroonians are unable to finance the creation of business, it is thus if not difficult, it is nearly impossible for them to secure a bright future through entrepreneurship.
Finally, education that encourages entrepreneurship is a good footing for business creation in Cameroon. But unfortunately, the education system in Cameroon does not adequately encourage entrepreneurship. The educational system in Cameroon is mostly the general education which orientates Cameroonians more towards having white collar jobs. Little emphasis is done in the professional education system in Cameroon. About 70% of schools in Cameroon are in general education and only 30% of the schools are engaged in professional education. Therefore, most of the Cameroonians are not bred educationally in the entrepreneurial spirit and skills. Thus, very few Cameroonians are willing and able to become future entrepreneurs. One can say that, since most Cameroonians have little expertise and knowledge on entrepreneurship as a result of their educational system, it is therefore difficult for them to entrepreneur their way into a bright future.
In conclusion, one can say that, since there is the possibility for Cameroonians to build a firm foundation for a bright future through entrepreneurship, if the few barriers to these successes are removed through the encouragement of professional education in the country by the government, increase support for entrepreneurship through increased availability of finance for aspiring entrepreneurs, also the government can harden the laws on copyright, patent and trade mark protection and also reduce the beaurocracy in creating a business. Once the various threats to entrepreneurship are curbed, entrepreneurship will prosper in the country and thus, Cameroonians will be able to entrepreneur their way into a brighter future.
Below is a brief interview with the 1st Prize winner Thursie!
On the 11th of February Better Breed Cameroon awarded the winners of the 2016 Sama Randy Youth Write Essay Competition. The following essay by Awanto Magaret- an undergraduate student majoring in History at the University of Dschang (pictured within) won the 2nd Prize of 75.000 FCFA
Let’s know what you think of this prize winning essay!
Can Cameroonians Entrepreneur their way a brighter future? Why or why not
Essay by AWANTO MAGARET
“No jobs” has long been the cry of a large number of the Cameroonian population particularly the youths and the graduates. It bears with it the hope that the Cameroonian government should create more jobs for her jobless citizens but it is inconceivable that the government could respond to the job need of every of its citizen especially as Cameroon is a mixed economy which entertains both the public and private sectors. The question here is, what are
Cameroonians themselves doing? What about entrepreneurship? Entrepreneurship is from the French the ‘entreprendre’ meaning to undertake, pursue opportunities to fulfill needs and wants through innovation, this may include an established organization ( Ndedi, 2012) One is said to be an entrepreneur when he assembles the other factors of production such as land, labor and capital to start a production process which involve risks. Its about time Cameroonians adopted United States president Barack Obama’s slogan of Yes, We Can! I think that through
entrepreneurship, Cameroonians can be able to achieve higher levels of national income, innovation, new businesses, development, employment and also less dependency ratio all summing up to a brighter future
Entrepreneurship leads to innovation and social change through entrepreneurship Cameroonians can create with new products, modified brands of goods and services and new techniques. This means more income for the entrepreneur or the worker. This indirectly supports freedom by reducing dependency and obsolete systems and technologies .thus, the overall result is an Improvement in the quality of life plus greater morale and economic freedom. For example the young dynamic social entrepreneur and Cameroonian Alain Nteff, founder of Gifted Mom an e-content platform for pregnant women in undeveloped areas to help them have safer pregnancies and combat the lack of access to good medical facilities and knowledge which has been leading to high mother and infant deaths in Cameroon. This project has led to 200 medical students being trained, 1200 pregnant women Impacted resulting in a 20% increase in anti natal attendance for pregnant women in 15 communities. It is clear that through entrepreneur ship, Cameroonians can have brighter futures like Alain Nteff did for some communities , not only lives were saved but hope too was given to populations of a brighter future for them and their babies.
In addition, entrepreneurship would increase the national income of the Cameroon. Entrepreneurs literally generate new wealth. existing businesses may remain confined to the scope of existing markets and may hit the glass ceiling in terms of income, new and improved offerings, products or technologies from entrepreneurs enable new markets to be developed and new wealth to be created. Furthermore, the cascading effect of increased employment and higher
earnings contribute to better national income in the form of higher tax revenue and higher government spending, which leads to nation building if the budget is well managed. For example, imagine an increase in the national income of Cameroon leads to the construction of a road and some schools. We all know the famous slogan, which says when a road passes, development follows. The construction of that road will go a long way to better that area through increased communication, circulation and business ventures, probably inviting the area to be habituated
steaming economic activities in the area. The school would lead to increase in the level of literacy and probably keep the children off the streets consequently, making the lives of Cameroonians better by encouraging education, enhancing their happiness, giving them hope and obviously leading them to a brighter future.
Moreover, entrepreneurs create new businesses. Path breaking offers by entrepreneurs in the form of new goods and services results in new occupations, which can produce cascading effects in the economy through the stimulation of related businesses or sectors that support the new venture to add to further development. The creation of new businesses by Cameroonians will lead to higher efficiency because the entrepreneur has a goal and many at times the goal of the entrepreneur is to excel in his venture and make profit. Cameroon is endowed with abundant natural resources and Cameroonians have the liberty of choosing any domain they wish to entrepreneur from. Some options are agriculture, arts, entertainment, information communication technologies. Agriculture for instance is dominant in Cameroon and the youths are increasingly joining the sector. Let us use the case of the Ndawara highland tea estate which is the biggest privately owned tea estate In the world and certainly in whole of Africa. Owned by the Cameroonian Baba Ahmadou Danpullo. This estate is good example of the power of entrepreneur ship. It employs over a thousand Cameroonians and has given the population something to live on , reduced the dependency ratio, Increased the living standards of its workers and their families, reduced crime wave; reduced hunger and increased the chances of education of the children thus leading to a brighter future.
Some argue that Cameroonians cannot entrepreneur their way to a brighter because entrepreneurs are not encouraged by the government. More so, exorbitant taxes are levied on entrepreneurs and this discourages other Cameroonians who aspire to be entrepreneurs. They also not the stressful and time-consuming process they go through when trying to get approval for their enterprise, plus the administrative bottlenecks and constrains. True, it is not easy to get past the all these process to get your business started. However, measures have been taken by this same government to reduce administrative bottlenecks by making it possible to register an enterprise at the regional level without necessarily going to the capital Yaoundé. In addition, the government encourages entrepreneurial ventures especially in the domain of agriculture and also boosts new ideas and innovations with the role of the non governmental organizations, philanthropic associations, religious associations and the ministry of small and medium –sized enterprise, not to mention the funds provided by and to these associations and groups.
Others claim using science that Cameroons cannot entrepreneur their way to a brighter future because they have limited knowledge about entrepreneurship and do not have the skills needed to make the achieving entrepreneurs. Such people totally reject the idea of entrepreneurship as headway
and advocate for technology and science.
Some say the only way forward is through good leadership. These claims are all true however, entrepreneurs in Cameroon no longer have limited knowledge thanks to workshops and seminars organized by philanthropic groups, non governmental organizations and some ministries. Furthermore, Entrepreneurship has been introduced as an obligatory course in all higher institutions for all students in every faculty. More so how can science and technology take us to our desired future if we do not entrepreneur in them? Like young Alain Nteff did, he combined technology, science and entrepreneurship to start his association. In addition every Cameroonian is a leader, why look up to others to deliver your future to you when you yourself can, what we need is a population of good leaders and not
just a good leader.
Entrepreneurship is as vital as blood to the sustainability of the human body. It would not only provide more jobs for Cameroonians but hard-work and purpose would be encouraged. The creation of new businesses would mean more income for some families, lesser rates of dependency and reduction in the gap between the rich and the poor. Thus, entrepreneurship with all certainty would definitely lead Cameroonians to a brighter.
Upon receipt of her award, Margaret was interviewed and had this to say:
On the 11th of February Better Breed Cameroon awarded the winners of the 2016 Sama Randy Youth Write Essay Competition. The prize winning essays will be shared one after the other begging from the 3rd Prize winning essay of Mbah Angwah Furt of Saint Monica University below:
“CAN CAMEROONIANS ENTREPRENEUR THEIR WAY TO A BRIGHTER FUTURE? WHY AND WHY NOT?”
As the Cameroonian economy continues to integrate due to globalization and as formally closed economies such as China and India move towards total liberalization, entrepreneurship is on the increase. Therefore, it is the objective of this paper to critically analyze the probable reasons why entrepreneurs could boost Cameroon to a brighter future.
Individuals often result to entrepreneurship in Cameroon for one of the following reasons; they find a market niche and have a way to profit from such a niche; they have been unable to find a suitable employment or suitable means of income and therefore have resulted to using their creativity to generate an income for themselves. Irrespective of which of the above led an individual to become an entrepreneur, it is clear that innovation and creativity are the driving factors and therefore, it can be stated that the biggest impact of entrepreneurs in Cameroon would be the innovative contribution that they make. Entrepreneurs often create new technologies, develop new products or innovations, and open up new markets. There are many examples of radical innovations introduced by entrepreneurs such as Pierre Omidyar (eBay), Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google) Bill Gates (Microsoft), Steve Jobs (Apple) and Larry Ellison (Oracle), just to name a few.
Radical innovations often lead to economic growth. Entrepreneurs who bring innovations to the market offer a key value-generating contribution to economic progress. Compared to incumbent firms, new firms invest more in searching new ideas because of the fear of being swallowed up by superior firms.
By establishing new businesses, entrepreneurs intensify competition for existing markets with already established businesses; this will cause players in the market to re-evaluate their operational capabilities. Thus costumers benefit from the resulting lower prices and greater product variety. And one of the greatest advantages of increased competition to the economy would be that individuals and firms will continue to find methods that can better improve their operations, use resources more efficiently, and reduce costs while adding value. All this will result to an increase in productivity, and an increase in the gross domestic product (GDP) of the nation. This will indeed benefit the economy.
Competition in the market can cause saturation and as a result many entrepreneurs maybe driven to seek new markets for their products, which will be considered as a positive impact to our economy. As integration of economies continues due to globalization, entrepreneurs will tend to look for markets that are outside their domestic spheres, thus generating foreign revenue there by increasing the prosperity of the economy as a whole.
As stated earlier, one of the main reasons that individuals become entrepreneurs is because they are unable to find suitable jobs. As a result, by being enterprising, creative and finding a market niche, not only are they able to generate an income for themselves, but they are also able to employ other individuals in their business operations. Therefore, one of the most positive impacts that entrepreneurs can make on the Cameroonian economy is job creation and the reduction of unemployment levels. In developed countries, we see that almost 40 – 50% of the workforce is employed in small and medium scale business size enterprises that were started by enterprising individuals.
While this might be a very simplistic explanation of the why and how Cameroonians can entrepreneur their way to a brighter future, it is also safe to say that; the employment generation, increased competition, market expansion, market penetration and sourcing new markets would all result in income generation that ultimately can help our economy to become more prosperous drawing millions out of poverty and generating funds for social welfare activities that ultimately will uplift the living standards of its citizens.
But all the reasons mentioned above why Cameroonians can entrepreneur their way to a better future are not guaranteed, thus it is also arguable that this very promising future which can be brought by entrepreneurs is almost a mirage which can almost not be met. As we see in our country today, only few people have the drive, skills and funds to become entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurs share certain traits such as creativity and high tolerance that comes with the uncertainty that comes with developing a new business. Four personality characteristics are particularly important for succeeding as an entrepreneur: willingness to take risks, openness to experience, belief in their own ability to control their own future an extroversion, and very few persons have all or most of such characteristics in our society.
More so, a substantial risk of failure accompanies entrepreneurship. Failure rates are high within the first five years of starting a business, and there are several reasons why many new businesses fail and close. Not everybody has the right character traits to become a successful entrepreneur. Other impediments to success are restricted access to capital, lack of customers, and discouraging regulatory hurdles, including unfriendly entry regulations and difficult and time consuming requirements for registering property and obtaining extending licenses or permits which may discourage entrepreneurship. Over-regulation of commerce prevents entrepreneurship from flourishing because it increases the costs of starting a business and decreases flexibility and the ability to react quickly to opportunities as they arise. Also, frequently changing complex unclear or opaque regulations and corruption in Cameroon make it hard to understand the legal environment for entrepreneurial activity. Thus if intellectual property rights are not adequately enforced, this adds to uncertainty which can build up to prohibitively high levels that discourage any potential innovator. Corruption may make entrepreneurs unwilling to trust the institutions that are necessary to protect intellectual property rights.
Sometimes, over-regulation can even make entrepreneurship impossible by restricting or prohibiting entry into certain sectors of the economy through strict control of licenses. Permits and licenses can act as noncompetition agreements. Over-regulated markets turn potentially productive entrepreneurs towards unproductive non-wealth-creating activity. Due to the fact that there are many potential markets for high-tech innovations all over the world, innovative business deterred by over-regulation in one market can go elsewhere.
It has also been observed that some businesses fail because of poor understanding of the market and sometimes lack of management skills. This is most common with younger entrepreneurs. Besides lower educational attainments, these include less work experience among young entrepreneurs than adults and fewer links with professional networks. Interestingly, though young entrepreneurs in Cameroon sometimes underestimate the lack of business skills as a barrier to entrepreneurship,, while- less surprisingly – they recognize the lack of finance as the key impediment, thus when they have the necessary finances, they venture into businesses with very large chances of failure. But there is also a big fear for the plundering of resources which can have disastrous effects on the environment in the long run.
Based on everything discussed above, it is seen that Cameroonian entrepreneurs can ensure Cameroon a brighter future, but there are some shortcomings which might hinder, or slow down the growth of entrepreneurship and the benefits that will go along with it; thus realizing these advantages that come along with entrepreneurship will require institutions which can encourage entrepreneurs
The government needs to regulate the administrative burdens that come along with establishing a business; this includes the time to register a business, the number of bureaucratic steps, and the number of regulations, fees, and reporting requirements. This will allow entrepreneurs to operate flexibly, and their entrepreneurship activities will be able to respond easily to the market. It is also important that these laws are implemented fairly and evenly
Start-up subsidies should be considered to foster entrepreneurial activities, as well as training programs for potential entrepreneurs which will focus on technical, managerial and financial literacy. These can reduce the risk of early business failure.
If regulatory burdens are reduced and corruption eliminated, Cameroon will encourage and retain their own entrepreneurs and even attract investors from other countries. Thus, it can be concluded that Cameroonians can entrepreneur their way to a better future, if and only if the policies can adjust a regulatory environment in favor of entrepreneurship.
Mbah Angwah Furt is aged 19 and currently enrolled for a B.Sc in Petroleum Engineering at the International Institute of Petroleum Studies (IIPS) of Saint Monica University Buea in the Southwest Region of Cameroon.
He had this to say upon receiving his prize:
We’re pleased to announce that this year’s Sama Randy Youth Write Competition has come and gone successfully.
This year we received over thirty submissions from universities all over the country and even received an entry in French! The judges did an awesome job in using the limited time to narrow down our top three winners.
As proof that this year’s campaign had a vast outreach, each winner hails from a school in a different Cameroonian region!
Our 1st Prize of 100.000 FCFA has been awarded to
Ubangoh Thursie Abanjoh
An 18 year old undergraduate Management student of the Catholic University of Cameroon, Bamenda in the Northwest Region
Last but certainly not least, the 3rd Prize of 50.000 FCFA is to be awarded to Mbah Angwah Furt aged 19 and currently enrolled for a B.Sc in Petroleum Engineering at the International Institute of Petroleum Studies (IIPS) of Saint Monica University Buea in the Southwest Region!
Congratulations to them all.
Congratulations to those who tried as well. The effort was commendable and the competition stiff!
We also say a very big ‘Thank you’ to Big Steps (a fellow youth-led, youth empowerment initiative focusing on issues of health) which partnered with us by increasing the award money for this year’s competition.
Awards were handed to the winners on 11th February, Cameroon’s Youth Day after a celebratory lunch by our coordinator Monique Kwachou, our newest active member Melissa Longla, and Ashoka Changemaker scholar Gabila Franklin
Within this week we shall post the award winning essays with some note on their importance and judges comments as to why they won. Stay tuned!!!