Last Updated on by

Have you ever thought of start an import business? International business is not reserved for the few rich and government as many people think. Ordinary people like you and me with little money can also engage in importing goods from Africa from anywhere in the world.

This can be a very good way for Africans in the diaspora to start a successful import business of theirs from nothing and contribute in the development of Africa. In this post, I am going to reveal to you how one of my blog readers and I started a small scale import and export organic coffee business with little investment from both of us. This can help you to start your own import business as well. We can also help match you with local manufacturers of goods in Cameron. With this, you can import products from Cameroon at wholesale prices and resell them wherever you are with a much higher profit.

How does the import business model work?

It is a simple buy and sell (buyam-sellam as called in Cameroon) business whereby the buyer buys from Africa at a cheap price and resells them in the country of his host or elsewhere at a higher price. The excess is the profit earned. So as simple as this is, it is a normal retail business. You can still go further to increase your profit by searching for a cheaper supplier or getting a buyer who can buy at a higher price.

How I started exporting roast and ground coffee

Let me elaborate on starting an import business with a real live experience I had. I have been into this coffee stuff for about two years now. I once did a holiday job with my grand-mother’s younger brother who was one of the biggest exporter of coffee and cocoa from Cameroon in the late 90’s. Also, I started as Africa Reporter for Coffee Business Intelligence (CoffeeBi). Reporting for CoffeeBi spurred in me the interest of starting a coffee business.

My interest in coffee

I got some contacts from my grand-uncle about three years ago and discussed with them on a commission base to source for clients to buy coffee from them. This didn’t work because I didn’t succeed to get any customer. Later, as a blogger and content writer, I started a coffee blog, Coffee Guru, with the intention to resell in the future.

I have been into this buying of attractive domain names, designing a good blog or website with WordPress, creating content and reselling afterwards thing for a while now. It’s a slow but sure investment and can be a source of idle income if you do it well. You can check this post on Africa Needs Online Content From Africa By Africans. So that was my aim of creating Coffee Guru.

The magic as it happened

For one year, nobody contacted me for the website. I was reluctant to renew the hosting and domain name. But then I thought again that I have invested in it, why not try again? I renewed it and exactly two weeks after, I was contacted by someone who has been following me. It was just a simple birthday wish that I sent to him on LinkedIn and the discussion started. Checkout this post on how to get customers and business partners on LinkedIn.

He has been following my writings on coffee on Coffee Guru and on CoffeeBi. He was interested in importing roast coffee bean or ground coffee in the United States from Cameroon.

How the business started

A friend of mine had invested in coffee roasting/grinding 7 years ago and was showing no interest about the business. Cutting the story short, through our local agro-investment firm, AfriStartup, we went into partnership with Bime Coffee and we were able to sign a deal with him. He now imports a minimum of 1 tonne of roasted and ground organic coffee from us monthly.

And that’s how businesses are made

Look at how easy it was for both of us. He just started a new business by importing from his homeland, Cameroon. I became a roast coffee bean and ground organic coffee exporter from Cameroon without owning a coffee roasting company. It is now business again for Bime Coffee. Our investment company, AfriStartup, is already in negotiations to buy shares in Bime Coffee to revamp the business.

The Internet & improvements in logistics and transport

The Internet has brought down the walls that restricted small businesses from carrying out international trade. The improvements in logistics and transport has made it very simple for small businesses with little capital to import small quantities with very little shipping costs. My next post will be on how the import business works. If you are interested in becoming an importer from Cameroon, we can help match you with an exporter.

However, if you plan on doing business in Cameroon, you will need to know about Cameroon’s Local Tax System, how to create a Limited Liability Company or Sole-Proprietorship in Cameroon and Cameroon Personal Income and Corporate Taxation.

Leave a comment below if you have experienced international trade from Africa. Make sure you share this post to friends and families and don’t hesitate to subscribe below for more updates.