On the eve of the 2019 International Women’s Day, the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Minette Libom Li Likeng, engaged in a tour to the business sites of Startups set up by outstanding young women in technology in the capital city of Yaoundé.
Organised in a bid to encourage women in tech and reassure them of the government’s unflinching support, this interesting field visit revealed to the Minister and her entourage, the interwoven nature of businesses established in the digital economy ecosystem. The Minister in her discussions with the young entrepreneurs remarked that some offer solutions for the challenges fellow startups are facing, so she recommended that they communicate more about their products, services and solutions and strive to work in close collaboration for better results.
Remarkable Initiatives by Women in Tech.
On this tour, the Minister visited six startups offering varied solutions and services. She started with Akini Danielle’s Genius Center which is into e-Education, offering a platform for college students and other young people to develop their ICT project ideas. Carole Mbessa’s Visit My Business multimedia solution is a tool for Africa’s economic integration. The team involved more of young women who worked with some young men to provide varied services and solutions. On its part, Brain Booster situated at Etoa Meki is a co- working space for startups with the slogan “work, share, grow; together we thrive”. At Brain Booster, Aurelle Tayou and her team offer a physical and an online platform for startups which they coach, guide and support. It is also a good meeting place for startups with similar ideas and a market place for project ideas.
The Minister also made a stop at the Technopole Sup-Valor, an incubator for startups hosted by the National Advanced School of Engineering (POLYTECHNIQUE), Melen. There, she met STUDECOL, an e –Education platform, providing a solution for the home tutoring concerns of pupils and students in Yaoundé. Melissa Bime’s INFUISS too greatly marked the Minister and her entourage. It is an e-Health startup which eases the supply of blood for transfusion to patients who are always in dire need. With INFUISS, you can order and donate blood online or with a simple phone call, and save many lives. Meanwhile, Arielle Kitio’s CAYSTI for edTech is out to create the next generation of tech leaders in Cameroon by initiating kids into coding and the development of software applications.
At every stop, the Minister applauded the courage of these young women who have taken the bull by the horns and are engaged in the expansion of the Digital Economy of Cameroon as prescribed by the Head of State, Paul Biya.
Coaching Female Students at Sup’ptic.
The Minister closed her tour in a session with the female students of the National Advanced school of Posts, Telecommunications and Information and Communication Technologies (SUPP’TIC), who had the opportunity to meet some remarkable women in tech who are making giant strides in the Digital Economy sector of Cameroon with very limited resources.
In a motivational speech to the young women at SUP’PTIC, Arielle Kitio, founder of CAYSTI, encouraged them to be fearless because engaging in a technology related career does not require muscles; it only requires brains, initiative and courage. The young lady, who is a software architect and the Next Einstein Ambassador, stated that women because of their attention to detail and sense of orderliness have the potential to excel in the Digital Economy sector.
In a closing word at the SUPP’TIC session, Minister Libom Li Likeng reiterated the political will of the Head of state and the Government to promote the rapid growth of the digital economy with young people as main actors. The Government is striving therefore, to create an enabling environment for young businesses established by young people in the Digital economy ecosystem of Cameroon. She challenged the young women to close the broad gap existing between men and women in technology as they adhere to Cameroon’s theme for the 34th edition of the International Women’s Day: “ Crusade against Gender Inequalities: Accommodation the New Impulse”. She also remarked that her experience on this field visit further emphasizes the absolute need for a National cyber park which will surely see the light of day.
Since her appointment as Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Minister Minette has engaged in varied initiatives and actions aimed at creating this enabling environment for the growth of the Digital Economy. Concretely she created the SUP’PTIC Business Academy, Yaoundé (a national incubator), organized the Globe trotter of the Digital Economy, the Android village and Startup village, “camps des vaccances TIC”, as well as National and international fora on the digital economy. She has also offered institutional support to startups like Drones made in Cameroon, Brain booster, Teach me Pad and many others.