Rebecca Enonchong, the “business angel” who gives wings to young African shoots

Within Cameroon’s digital ecosystem, Rebecca Enonchong is fondly referred to as “the national tata”. For many young entrepreneurs on the continent, she is almost an idol. This flirtatious fifty-year-old is an ardent activist in the development of young African shoots, and has invested his time and money in it for many years.

Founder of AppsTech, a company specializing in business management software, which has customers in more than 40 countries around the world, Rebecca Enonchong is also the president of ActivSpaces, one of the most important start-up incubators in the world. Cameroon. This graduate from the Catholic University of America in Washington is also one of the founding members of the African Business Angel Network, a group of investors that finance young innovative companies. Finally, she chairs AfriLabs, a pan-African network of more than 100 innovation centers. So many caps that make her, according to her aficionados, “the example to follow and copy”.

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She is our mentor and the big sister who encourages us. It is extremely demanding, but it is with a view to seeing us succeed,” witness, gratefully, Olivier Madiba, the founder of Kiro’o Games, the first Cameroonian video game studio to offer 100% African content. Rebecca Enonchong invested money there and advised the managers on their strategy. Thanks to his support, Kiro’o Games opened a branch in the United States, which allowed him to raise money. It also gave us access to Amazon’s marketplace. Today our books are sold there. As an African company, we had no right to that. It helped us export ourselves administratively,” continues Olivier Madiba.

“She doesn’t work with the dishonest”

Like him, many Cameroonian entrepreneurs testify to his influence. In 2015, Flavien Kouatcha left his comfortable and well-paid job in a multinational to create his company. Specializing in aquaponics (growing plants in symbiosis with fish), his start-up, Save Our Agriculture, does not belong in the digital world. At that point he fumbles and doesn’t really know where this is “agricultural passion” will lead it. His meeting with Rebecca Enonchong sweeps away his hesitation. She encourages him and does not hesitate to make room for him in the ActivSpaces so that he can start his activity. She told me that it was important to work in the field that we are passionate about. She is one of those who confirmed my idea. Even today, she gives me advice,” says Flavien Kouatcha. Since then, the entrepreneur has won numerous awards around the world.

At ActivSpaces, ideas flow and projects are born, generating new jobs. Young people needed a place to meet, to connect to the Internet and, above all, to have access to mentors who were more experienced than themselves. That’s what we offer them.” Valery Colong, entrepreneur and director of ActivSpaces in Buea, in the English-speaking region of the southwest, told us in July.

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Rebecca Enonchong, who defines herself as a technology and computer enthusiast, is convinced that young entrepreneurs in Africa can fight poverty by creating jobs and solving some of the continent’s problems. To further support them, she goes so far as to vouch for their projects, even if it means putting her reputation on the line. “She brings us her network and because she is connected to us, many investors start to believe in us. They know how strict Rebecca is and that she does not go with dishonest people.” says Olivier Madiba, of Kiro’o Games.

Over 90,000 Twitter followers

Rebecca Enonchong also uses high-level seminars and forums to raise awareness of the cause of innovation: campaigns to lower the cost of the Internet, rejecting the red tape that hampers the sector and multiplying requests to improve laws. business climate for young entrepreneurs. As African governments cut off the internet, she steps up to denounce this deprivation of freedom and its impact on the digital economy. With more than 90,000 followers on Twitter, she challenges the world with angry or simply engaged mini-messages.

A mobilization with sometimes very concrete effects. In 2018, she thus responded to the image of a Ghanaian teacher: he represented himself teaching his students computer science by drawing features of Word with chalk on a blackboard, in the absence of a computer. Without delay, Rebecca Enonchong then apostrophizes Microsoft Africa on Twitter. In the process, the teacher is invited to participate in the Microsoft Exchange program in Singapore, and the multinational donates computers to his high school.

“Rebecca is still hoping for a Formula 1 recruitment, but we in Africa are more Paris-Dakar experts, concludes Olivier Madiba. It aims for excellence and wants to push young Africans towards this path. »

Summary of the series: “In Africa, digital technology against poverty”

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