The government of Cameroon has created several programs for SMEs which include financing, mentorship, and tax exemptions for small businesses. Here are five government plans and partnerships that SMEs can and should take advantage of.
National Employment Fund
SMEs can apply for funding from the National Employment Fund and receive tax exemptions when young people get placements at their businesses. The Fund also has programs which offer young managers mentorship at larger corporations, with many experienced managers willing to take young entrepreneurs under their wing. Self-employment and disability programs have been put in place to make development more inclusive. The National Employment Fund’s primary objective is to put young people to work, which is always an alternative path to growth for prospective entrepreneurs.
Small and Medium-Sized Promotion Agency (APME)
This agency is a strategic partner that strengthens business through the creation, advancement and the establishment of networks between SMEs. Through this program, SMEs have been encouraged to collaborate and share information. It also issues guidelines to help SMEs access investment opportunities. APME has a partnership with MTN, Cameroon’s biggest telecommunications company to provide digital solutions that will improve management and mutual assistance between SMEs. Its alliance with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) is aimed at moving SMEs from the informal to the formal sector in the areas of agriculture, education, climate change, and health. APME has made it easier to create and register businesses through MyBusiness.cm and its mobile app.
Many family-owned farms in Cameroon lack proper management and funding to improve yields and support their owners. The Programme for the Improvement of the Competitiveness of Family Agropastoral Farms (ACEFA) run by the ministry of agriculture provides these farms with tools, education, and mentorship to grow their businesses. Common Initiative Groups, cocoa and coffee cooperatives and unions in livestock and fisheries in rural areas are the primary beneficiaries of this program.
Ministry of SMEs/ Vocational Training
The primary role of Cameroon’s Ministry of SMEs is to design and implement public policy. The ministry works with several agencies, both government and private, to give small businesses access to funding and education. This ministry also works to open up the environment for diverse private programs. In collaboration with the Ministry of Vocational Training, the Ministry of the Economy and private initiatives they regulate schools that train young people to acquire skills in electricity, computing, agriculture, the arts, carpentry, plumbing, catering and several other domains that push them towards self-employment.
Cameroonian Bank for SMEs (BC-PME)
With over 90 percent of its businesses classified as SMEs, Cameroon created a bank in 2015 to fund their operations. Clients can open their accounts for free and get access to low-cost loans. The BC-PME is looking at ways of improving its services, including providing these loans through commercial banks.
Next Step for SMEs
Once you’ve taken advantage of the many programs Cameroon offers SMEs, what is your next step? For maximum growth potential, it should be to join an international marketplace so you can interact with different companies all over the world. Check out our partner, Export Portal, to take your company to the next level.
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