African entrepreneurs turning to crowdfunding

Monday, August 4, 2014

The banks wouldn’t give him a loan, so Cameroonian Georges Badjangs approached a crowdfunding platform. Although relatively unknown in Africa, this alternative source of finance is helping his firm grow.

Jacques Georges Badjang was never really interested in emigrating abroad. Even when he was a student, he was determined to show it was possible to create and achieve something in his native Cameroon.

As there were several beekeepers in his neighborhood, he decided there was a future in honey. He gave up his history course and went to work.

“It all started at home, in my mother’s kitchen,” said Badjang. This was where he washed the glass jars, filled them with honey, and then went from house to house to sell them.

The one-man operation has since turned into a flourishing business, “Les Mielleries” which markets honey from more than 200 beekeepers.

The honey is filtered and then packaged in Douala, Cameroon’s largest port city. While expanding his firm, Badjang encountered a problem familiar to many small businesses in Africa. The banks would not lend him money because he couldn’’t convince them that he would be able to pay it back.

Investors operating from a distance

Last year, Badjang found a new solution to this old problem. He heard about the newly established crowdfunding platform BlueBees. Based in France, it was just about to go online.

This form of financing in which entrepreneurs use internet platforms to ask the general public to invest in their businesses is already well established in Europe and the United States.

Online users decide whether they want to invest in a particular scheme, and how much they wish to contribute. These platforms are often used for art or social projects.

Source: DW (link opens in a new window)

Categories
Entrepreneurship
Tags
crowdfunding, financial innovation, financial services, social entrepreneur, social entrepreneurship