In any economy, the private sector is the leader in sustainable job creation. In Cameroon however, according to the World Bank, only 4.5% of the adult workforce is part of the formal private sector. The government employs more than 45% of the workforce. With general unemployment greater than 30 percent and youth unemployment above 40 percent, the need for private sector growth has never been this pressing. The Small Business and Entrepreneurship program is focused on providing the tools for establishing and expanding businesses in the private sector to spur economic growth. The program has a strong focus in empowering women in the private sector to establish and grow small and medium size enterprises. Currently, more than 45 percent of all private sector jobs are in small and medium size enterprises – companies with less than 50 employees.
Why do we focus on small and medium size enterprises? In Cameroon, as in many other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, large businesses have not created jobs on the scale needed to lower the high unemployment rate. Small businesses help drive economic growth by creating employment and allowing the growth of a veritable middle class. By fostering growth in small and medium size enterprises, there is an increase in formal sector employment with concurrent increases in government revenues.
The foundation seeks to help establish a comprehensive small business strategy that amongst other things:-
- Improves access to market opportunities
- Reduces the problem of information asymmetry by providing real-time information of business opportunities
- Promotes entrepreneurship and the development of social capital
- Facilitates collaboration with various stakeholders
- Promotes a strong business culture in the country