The second edition of the National Congress on Business Incubation in Cameroon (CONIEC) will end on 21 December, 2022, under the Chairmanship of the Minister of SMEs, Social Economy and Handicrafts (MINPMEESA), H.E. Achille BASSILEKIN III. At the opening ceremony last Monday at the Multi-purpose sports Complex, the Minister of SMESEH was accompanied by four other members of Government, including the Minister of Employment and Vocational Training, H.E. Issa TCHIROMA BAKARY, the Minister of Youth and Civic Education, H.E. MOUNOUNA FOUTSOU, the Minister of Women empowerment Women and the Family, H.E. Marie Thérèse ABENA ONDOA, as well as the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, H.E. Minette LIBOM LIKENG. Were also present the Representative of the UNDP Resident Representative in Cameroon, the Representative of the Mayor of the City of Yaounde, the French Ambassador to Cameroon, incubation structures, as well as other Government Officials.

This edition, placed under the theme “The formalisation of incubation structures as a lever for the development of new and sustainable startupsand SMEs communities in Cameroon”, enables, as recalled by H.E. Achille BASSILEKIN III, to “popularise the Prime Minister’sDecree, Head of Government, which regulates the incubation activity, in order to bring back in order many so-called incubation structures that do not meet the standards and criteria for incubation”. In addition to raising awareness on formalisation, it is also a question of clarifying the terms of reference of the said structures and therefore of “agreeing on a content in terms of incubation. And above all, the Congress provided the structures with new keys so that around the incubation activity can be seen the emergence of a community of competitive and sustainable start-ups that work in the areas opened up by the Government within the framework of the NDS 30 “, he added.

It is therefore a question of “migrating towards a specialisedincubation for growth and competitive sectors such as agri-food, wood, and textile-leather, and to give content to the realisation of the National Development Strategy 2020-2030 to structurally transform the economy of our Country”. The objective remains “to encourage the development of industrial production units, simultaneously in the large cities in order to respond to the National and Sub-regional market needs, and in remote localities where the establishment of specialised incubators within Regional and Local Authorities will give real meaning to decentralisation in our Country”, he concluded.

Results commensurate with the supervision and the sittings

At the end of the sittings, the structures will also havetheir capacities to raise funds from partners strengthened, for the emergence of SMEs that meet the challenges in terms of production, by putting on the market, quality “Made in Cameroon” goods and services that meet not only the needs of consumers, but also enable to face the external market.

The support of these structures is multifaceted. Beyond the technical and sometimes financial support that the Government grants them through several Ministerial Departments including MINPMEESA, MINPOSTEL, MINEFOP, MINJEC in sectors as varied as agri-food, digital, etc., other external partners have joined the cause sometimes with subsidies for training and other activities and actions.

Alongside MINPMEESA during this Congress, the UNDP, through its Representative, reiterated the commitment of the United Nations to Cameroon for a reliable economic development.

The sittings were held in workshops after the inaugural lesson on the theme of the Congress, delivered by the Secretary General of MINPMEESA Mr Joseph TCHANA, followed by a presentation on macro-economic aspects relating to incubation in the economic fabric, presented by Dr Feubi, Head of the MINPMEESA Projects Unit.

The sittings then followed through cross-sectoral panel discussions in order to draw up an “overview of the situation and prospects for support from the Government and stakeholders to structure the incubation system in Cameroon and contribute to the establishment of a competitive entrepreneurial ecosystem”; seminars, in particular on “What determinants and instruments and regulatory systems for business incubation in Cameroon? “and on “Incentives and tax benefits granted to entrepreneurshipsupport structures and start-ups in Cameroon”.

The closing ceremony will be an opportunity for the representative of the incubator promoters to express their gratitude to the Government for the support, especially that of the hundred or so structures represented at this Congress. It will also be an opportunity to present and install the Executive Board of the incubator Umbrella Organisation. The other highlight of this ceremony will be the awarding of Approvals to some twenty incubation structures. The SMEs that have successfully registered in the National SMEs Data File during the Congress will also receive certificates, before the closing speech of the Minister of SMEs, Social Economy and Handicrafts (MINPMEESA), H.E. Achille BASSILEKIN III.