Kamerbigbang. A startup founded by Angele Messa leveraging technology to improve the Education sector in Cameroon. The unemployment rate in the country, as in other African countries is very high. According to Angele, it was what informed the launch of the startup.
Kamerbigbang helps Cameroonian youths to NOT depend on government jobs. Instead, they help them use their skills to make money for themselves and not chase non existent public service jobs. Angele shares with TechMoran, the beginning of Kamerbigbang, the journey so far, funding and many more. Enjoy.
Name of founder: Angele MESSA
What informed the launch of Kamerbigbang? Do you think Cameroonian youths are limited when it comes to opportunities?
The unemployment rate in Cameroon is alarming, and this is mostly caused by the educational system. Education curricular in just like several other African countries is made up more of theory than practise. The skills students get from formal education is insufficient to make them ready for the job market immediately after graduation. This then makes the public service their only option. Meanwhile getting into the public service is highly competitive due to its inability to employ half of Cameroon’s graduates. Looking closely at the situation, kamerbigbang.com opted to equip these youths with tools that will change their status from job seekers to job creators by giving them life skills through education support services, training programs and mentorship in a bit to complement their formal education. Our ambition is therefore that to help Cameroonian youths transform whatever skills they have, into a money-making business. In this light, whether graduates chose to get jobs or create one, they’ll always have our support thanks to educational support services we offer, business start-up training programs and academic and career coaching sessions.
The internet holds thousands of opportunities for which Cameroonian youths are eligible but most of them don’t benefit from those opportunities because they are under informed. It’s in this regards that kamerbigbang.com developed a search engine which searches the web and automatically post jobs, scholarships, fellowships and all national and international opportunities for which Cameroonian youths are eligible. This can be accessed for free. This search engine has been much appreciated by our users. We get positive feedback and testimonies very often.
How well has the start-up fared since launch? Would you say to have made very significant progress?
We’ve come a long way already. The concept was a very new one at the beginning and many people didn’t understand it. We met several challenges given that most youths do not see the internet as a learning tool. Our main challenge (one which we haven’t completely dealt with) consisted of making our target audience buy our vision. It took much of persistence and today, we’ve been able to reach the greater part of our target audience for the first three years.
Why focus on just Cameroon, how about the whole of Africa? Do you have expansion plans?
Kamerbigbang.com aims to use technology to curb academic and career failure by creating a skills based online entrepreneurial university. Our main target audience for the first three years is Cameroon. When we are able to build solid roots in Cameroon, our next target will be the central African Region. Our vision is to make it possible for every student, recent graduate, institution, job seeker and/or budding entrepreneur to use our services for personal, academic or career development right from the comfort of their homes irrelevant of their geographical location.
How is Kamerbigbang funded? Bootstrapped or otherwise?
Kamerbigbang.com started with personal funding. But I’ll say today, we’re totally (or at least 95%) bootstrapped. However, we’re in constant search of other funding opportunities to scale our business.
Tell us about the business model of the startup.
Kamerbigbang uses a mixture of business models: from direct sales to acting as middle man depending on the services offered. With direct sales, we sometimes get directly to the end user to suggest our services. Most at times, we stand at the middle between opportunities and freelancers on one hand and customers on the other. We have a pool of different profiles from diverse fields ready to attend to our customers. Our customers therefore benefit from the services of these professionals through our platform.
Let us in on the team behind Kamerbigbang. Or is it just you at the helm?
I founded kamerbigbang.com in 2016 with the assistance of a webmaster and few friends. Today, we have a team of four permanent staff and hundreds of freelancers.
What would you have done differently since launch if you were given a chance?
There are a handful of things we would do differently if we had to start all over. For example, we would have taken more risks. The project kicked off on a very shy note. Thank God our passion and dedication to the course let us realise quickly that we needed to get out of our comfort zone. And this has helped so much in maintaining the business alive and achieving milestones.
In 5 years time, how big do you envisage Kamerbigbang?
Right now, we’re working on raising funds and looking for new partners so as to move the company to its next level. In five years time, kamerbigbang.com must have reached its’ final destination. We would have completely created our online entrepreneurial university with thousands of courses and users and created hundreds of jobs for youths throughout Africa.
What impact do you think technology would have on Africa as a whole in years to come?
Technology is transforming every aspect of life in Africa. From banking system to culture, through agriculture and business, technology is impacting every sector in the African continent. Over the next five years, technology will drive growth in Africa at an alarming rate. In this light, IT solutions will continue to be employed to solve long-standing African socio-economic issues.
Say a few words for other people who wants to solve a problem with technology.
It’s easy to come up with a business idea. However, it’s very difficult to convince your audience to share in your vision. You’ll get so many setbacks but don’t give up. Remember competition is really tough in the tech industry. To increase the possibility of success, pay great attention to market research. You’ll find thousands of businesses in your field, this shouldn’t discourage you. The essential thing here is to develop a unique business model with an added value which will help your start up stand out. Thank you