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Updated: Mar 8

The 3rd International Forum on Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Heart of Development in Cameroon was a pivotal event that aimed to strengthen the innovation and resilience capacity of entrepreneurs. The objective was to make entrepreneurship a powerful driving force for inclusive and sustainable development.

This forum brought together entrepreneurs, innovators, policymakers, and stakeholders from various sectors to exchange ideas, share best practices, and explore opportunities for collaboration. The discussions revolved around enhancing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Cameroon and empowering entrepreneurs to overcome challenges and achieve their full potential.

One significant aspect of this event was the emphasis on strengthening the Quebec-Canada and Cameroon relationships. Recognizing the importance of international partnerships in fostering economic growth, the forum sought to enhance collaboration between Quebec and Canada with Cameroon. This collaboration aimed to leverage each other's strengths in entrepreneurship, innovation, and sustainable development.

By focusing on building resilience among entrepreneurs while fostering cross-border collaborations, this event laid a strong foundation for inclusive growth and sustainable development. It provided a platform for knowledge sharing, networking, and forging partnerships that will contribute to economic prosperity not only in Cameroon but also in Quebec-Canada.

Overall, the 3rd International Forum on Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Heart of Development in Cameroon served as an important catalyst for empowering entrepreneurs, driving innovation, and strengthening international cooperation – all essential elements for achieving inclusive and sustainable development goals.

Summary of interesting quotes from the interview

Introduction (00:00 - 09:56)

  • The third international Forum on entrepreneurship is taking place in Douala, organized by the general delegation of Quebec in Dakar.

  • The theme is "Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the heart of development".

  • Africans who have been in Quebec are sharing their experiences to contribute to the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Africa.

Interview with Aissatou Keita

  • Aissatou Keita has a consulting firm in human resource and organizational development and is here with the Youth Mobility Program LOJIQ.

  • She started her business about almost 2 years ago in Guinea and then expanded to Quebec.

  • It was difficult for her to leave her job and start her own business, especially convincing her parents.

  • She faced challenges getting contracts as a black woman, but has been successful both in Quebec and Western Africa.

  • She has signed one contract already at the forum in Douala.

Experience at the Forum

  • Aissatou Keita has been to many forums and conferences before, but this one has been different.

  • She has already signed a contract and has met fantastic people who are open and welcoming.

  • The mix of English and French in Cameroon creates a different dynamic.

Proposals for Entrepreneurs in Cameroon

  • Aissatou Keita recommends having the audacity to go get what you want and not stopping at the first no.

  • She notices that people in Cameroon tend to give up too easily and not pursue other options.

  • The Quebec entrepreneurial ecosystem is successful because of the support from different governmental entities.

Challenges Faced by Entrepreneurs in Quebec

  • Aissatou Keita notes that as a black woman, there are challenges in Quebec.

  • The government does support startups and small and medium-sized businesses, but there is still work to be done in terms of diversity and inclusion.

Challenges faced by black entrepreneurs (10:00 - 19:59)

  • Black entrepreneurs face blockages and barriers in the system due to their skin color, making it difficult to navigate.

  • African people often prefer to work with strangers or Indians over other African individuals.

  • These challenges exist both in Quebec and in Africa.

Giving back to society

  • Giving back means being grateful for the knowledge and experience received and planting a seed for someone else to grow on.

  • It's essential to give back to society and help others become better individuals.

  • The goal is to facilitate growth in society and transform the future.

Youth Mobility Office - LOJIQ

  • The Youth Mobility office (LOJIQ) has helped her many times with mobility and exporting her businesses to other countries.

  • The office supports youth between the ages of 18 to under 35 in entrepreneurship, mentorship, and career development.

  • The office offers different programs to help youth improve themselves and become better individuals in society.

Message to female entrepreneurs

  • Don't give up, even in the face of difficulties and blockages.

  • Success stories often hide the struggles and suffering behind closed doors.

  • Female entrepreneurs should fight to get what is rightfully theirs.

Future of the International Forum on Entrepreneurship

  • Hopes the forum will expand to involve young entrepreneurs from all over Africa and create an action plan for the future.

Background (20:01 - 27:21)

  • Quebec organized the international forum for entrepreneurship in Cameroon.

  • The speaker did not realize this until they were contacted and invited.

Relationship with Quebec

  • The speaker developed a good relationship with the Quebec delegation in Dakar.

  • They introduced Quebec to Active Spaces, a partner for the event, and other key supporters.

  • As a diplomat, it is their job to make connections and introduce people to each other.

Importance of Entrepreneurship

  • Entrepreneurship is a cornerstone for cooperation between Canada and Cameroon.

  • Cameroon has a youth bulge and many smart, well-educated young people who struggle to find employment.

  • Supporting entrepreneurship helps create employment and opportunities for young people.

Results of Entrepreneurship Support

  • The speaker was impressed by the progress of individual entrepreneurs they had supported.

  • For example, a young woman who started making juices had grown her business significantly.

  • The support provided was a catalyst for their success.

Role as a Diplomat

  • As a diplomat, the speaker's most important job is to create networks of contacts.

  • They connect people from Canada with people in their network in Cameroon.

  • This helps create positive changes in the country.

Final Message

  • The speaker sees a lot of potential in Cameroon and its people.

  • They encourage Cameroonians to pursue their objectives with dedication and professionalism.

  • The speaker believes that positive changes will continue to happen in the country.

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