Api Beckly is a final year Nutrition and Bioscience student at the University of Bamenda whose passion is to address food security in Cameroon through advocacy for sustainable food practices.
He has found a way to take his passion into the runway, citing food insecurity in Cameroon and Africa as a cause of domestic violence. “I joined the runway because I needed a platform to sell my idea, yet it has not been easy the last two years to have visibility,” Beckly said.
He also hopes to start a healthy food shop upon graduation in order to provide affordable quality food to Cameroonians. Mentorship and financing are the key limitations Beckly like many Cameroonian youths face when delving into the entrepreneurial world.
Seeking a platform to market his idea and gain support for his project landed Beckly on a platform which seeks to connect upcoming entrepreneurs in Cameroon to business elites across the globe called Level Up. “Level Up to me, is that platform and energy I have been looking for. Through this platform, I trust I will be Leveling Up soonest in my entrepreneurial dream,” he remarked.
The Platform for Ideas Transformation
Level Up Cameroon, an initiative of self-made Cameroonian youths excelling in diverse business sectors including tech, entertainment and blockchain is beaming a new light on the next generation of Cameroonian business owners and propellers of the economy.
Unlike the multiple business Masterclasses organised across the nation annually which end at training, “Level Up wants to see good business ideas transformed into effective businesses, and we are ready to accompany our young entrepreneurs, every step of the road,” said Gerald Chiatoh, one of the organisers of Level Up.
Having gone through the thorny journey to success, these young business owners have it that it is about time to make the journey a lighter one for the upcoming leaders. “I know the pains, I know the challenges, I know the struggles. I had nothing growing up. Growing up in an environment like that, intrinsically, the things I saw made me believe that things can become better. It is now important to shine the light on those coming up, having attained some level of success,” Gerald added.
When the organisers of Level Up met in their maiden edition in Yaoundé, in early May, Beckly was able to meet business giants in the country and he successfully pitched his business idea to some of them. “Two senior entrepreneurs I met at Level Up got interested in my project and have given me business rendezvous,” he said
Over eight hundred youths joined Beckly at the Yaoundé Sports Complex during Level Up’s maiden event with multiple business ideas in agriculture, tech, entertainment and value chain which were received by the organisers for linkups. The goal of the organisers is to connect all idea owners to potential mentors and investors. They have also taken up the challenge to raise funds which will finance projects they see feasible.
The Spontaneous Outcome
Added to the experience sharing through panel discussions and presentations on how to venture into the entrepreneurial space in Cameroon from business, entertainment, tech and diplomatic elites, and networking opportunities, Level Up by its two-day close took immediate actions to nurture and finance not less than 50 business ideas.
“For the immediate action steps, we are offering scholarships to 50 Cameroonian youths to study ICT online, with fees ranging from 200,000 FCFA to 1,000,000 FCFA. Fifty others shall have their projects in agriculture, livestock and value chain requiring 200,000 FCFA to 1,000,000 FCFA as startup capital, sponsored. This money will be raised through the sponsors and successful business persons we have here,” Gerald assured.
At the close of the event, the organisers announced on their Facebook page that over 300,000,000 (Three hundred million) FCFA has been raised which will finance startups and scholarship schemes to at least 100 young Cameroonians within the next one year.
The team is hopeful that when they meet in conference in 2024, 100 new entrepreneurs like Beckly will come back to testify to the public and new attendees the progress they have made in their entrepreneurial journey leveraging on Level Up mentorship and financing.
“Level Up has come to stay. In 2024, we will be sharing testimonies of the impact created this 2023. We will continue networking, connecting to people who can support us, build better and stronger brands,” Timothy Fai, a computer engineer and one of Level Up’s organisers said.
By Wifah Nde