You can be anywhere in the world and still run your business successfully in Cameroon. If you doubt me, checkout Bamenda Coffee, sourced in Cameroon and sold in the United States of America.
Starting a business in your own country may not be an easy task. However, it is more challenging when you have to set it up in another country. This also is the case with those who are leaving out of their country and may want to start a business in their own country.
No matter what the situation is, to run a successful business in a country where you are not living in, you need to invest a lot in research and planning before you finance the project. In addition to that, you need the right people to do that for you if you are not around to carry it out yourself.
Many Cameroonians in the diaspora in particular are interested in doing business in the country but rarely go about it the right way. It is common to here them ask their family members “na which kind bizik di pass for pays?” This funny because they will tell you just what meets their eyes. They tell you X is doing this business and it is successful, so they recommend it without any research on what it takes to run such a business.
The outcome is usually disastrous. It baffles me most because these guys leave in countries where consultants are never taken for granted. When they get in touch with people like us, they prefer to get information for free rather than pay so we can get the right information. At times, they don’t even value what we tell them because they always think we ‘are not good enough’ in Cameroon.
However, not all fall in such a mess. I have seen successful businesses founded by Cameroonians in the diaspora. Most of them did the right thing – invested a lot in research and planning. An example is Bamenda Coffee, sourced, roasted and packaged in Cameroon and sold in United States of America – specifically in Chicago, Illinois.
The Founder paid local consultants to carry out a good research on roasting and exporting coffee from Cameroon. He believed that only someone on the ground can do such. He didn’t rely on his family members who may not have known much about running coffee roasting business.
Today, Bamenda Coffee has finally seen the light of day after months of hard work. It is a high quality selection of fresh coffee sourced from the highlands of Bamenda, NW Region of Cameroon.
Research and planning is just one of the things required to start a business in another country. The type of business you want to run must also tie in with the country you want to run it in. If you plan to start a business in another country, the least you can do is know the type of business first before you choose the country to start in. You can make a list of countries where you think you can run your business and choose the best.
Your personal experience or skill also matter. In the case of Bamenda Coffee, the founder already had some experience in coffee. “Growing up, our grandparents grew coffee. During coffee season, we would harvest the ripe coffee, process in small batches, and sell them to buyers who came from the city”, he said. He grew up harvesting coffee, but unfortunately for him, had never tasted it because it was “sold as raw material for further processing”.
His experience and innovative mind must have been what pushed him to start a roasting business and a brand of his. Through the Leshey Foundation, a sister foundation, Bamenda Coffee focuses on ensuring that coffee growers get a reliable income and education in entrepreneurship in order to improve their standards of living and that of their community.
Many Cameroonians out of the country are interested in starting businesses back home. They want to put in their own best in the development of their country. At times, they have the funding, but lack the right people to guide them on what to invest in or do a research on their chosen field of investment. Many don’t know where to get the right advise. They need to be well informed about the market and avoid making rush decisions.
If you are well informed about the business you are carrying out, then you will not find it too difficult to overcome challenges. This is the case of Bamenda Coffee that started its operations deep in the crisis that is affecting the NW and SW Regions of Cameroon.
It is also necessary for you to visit your chosen country to carry out further research. You need to be sure that your business will not only thrive but will also serve the community where it is located.
In partnership with the Leshey Foundation, African Dream and SEEDS, Bamenda Coffee organized a training workshop in the Bamenda, a conflict town with theme “Starting and Managing Small Businesses and Income Generating Activities (IGAs) even in times of crises”. The workshop’s objective was “developing resilience for IDP in times of conflict through entrepreneurship”. Thirty nine participants were recorded – 24 female and 15 males.
Once you are certain about your investment, you can then look for someone, a lawyer, consultant or an accountant to complete the necessary formalities. You can also put in place a management team that will carry out activities on your behalf. You need to make sure you have everything in order before you leave.
Bamenda Coffee has three products that can be ordered online – Pour Over Coffee, The Chicago Dark and the Chicago Medium.