Recently the VC4Africa team has welcomed a new member. As community manager Helen Ngoh from Cameroon will be the one to contact when you have any questions or remarks. Let’s meet Helen!
Please introduce yourself?
“I’m Helen Ngoh, I’m 24 years old and I live in Buea, Cameroon. I am a trained and practicing journalist with state media in Cameroon. I also write for a local newspaper and I believe very strongly in Africa’s potential to excel in every field out there. I have a passion for social media. For leisure, I love to watch movies and read novels.”
How did you find out about the VC4Africa community?
“A friend, Bill Zimmerman, told me about it. Bill is already involved in the VC4Africa community and he seemed to think that I would find the concept interesting. He was right. He sent me the link by email, I clicked on it, began reading and I was so impressed. I think this is an ingenious, resourceful and original idea.”
Why do you believe in the VC4Africa concept?
“There are a lot of people in Africa, mostly young people with smart ideas but no one to finance their projects for them. I think sometimes it is because the older generation and the controllers of finance have an unjustified lack of faith in these new ventures, but also it is also because the creators do not have enough avenues to present their projects and ventures.
A platform that allows entrepreneurs and investors from all over the world to connect solves that problem immediately. Entrepreneurs who had previously exhausted all possible investors suddenly find themselves in this large space where a financier anywhere in the world can have access to their ventures with just one click, literally. How could I not believe in something like this?”
What is the best idea you have seen on the VC4Africa website and why?
“This is a hard one to answer. I have been going through the around 75 ventures on the VC4Africa website and I think all of them have very interesting ideas at the centre. That said, I find the Renewable Waste, AGRO-HUB and Frozen Ethnic Ready Made Meals ideas very attractive.
The Renewable Waste because recycling waste in some parts of Africa is a difficult thing to do and not so many people are doing yet even though it proven concept so I think it has a lot of potential. I find AGRO-HUB particularly interesting because it touches on agriculture that is something a great majority of Africans can relate to. It also provides a solution using mobile phones, which have a wide reach and a growing market in Africa these days. The Frozen Ethnic Ready Made Meals may be my favourite because I think I am ready to buy one frozen ethnic readymade meal. I work a lot, I’m not particularly in love with cooking and I don’t really like eating out. I’d buy a frozen ethnic meal in a beat, so will thousands of bachelors who work and live alone.”
What would you recommend to entrepreneurs who are putting their business idea online on the VC4Africa website?
“I’ll recommend that they put ideas that have been tested or at least taken off – ideas with a demo or prototype. In my opinion backers are more likely to invest in a project that is already underway rather than start from scratch with just an idea. Financiers will often look at the amount of risk involved before injecting money, and in my opinion, a business, which is already operational, reduces a certain amount of risk.
It is also quite important that entrepreneurs visit the community often to check on what’s happening with their ventures, read comments left for them and try to prod reactions from the community on their projects. A venture with traffic will always look very attractive because a lot of people will be asking, “what’s going on over there?” Who knows, maybe one of those coming to check will be a guy with big bucks.”
What are your plans as community manager for the near future?
“I plan to encourage, facilitate and develop relationships in the community. I’ll be going through ventures to try and connect people who may share similar interests so they can find themselves, help them start a conversation and move on from there. I guess I’ll be some kind of matchmaker.
The success of this community depends largely on entrepreneurs meeting and convincing possible financiers. For this to happen I need to push entrepreneurs to complete their ventures and then try to make them visible to rest of the community.
I hope my fingers will flip the switch that lights up the way for these two groups of people to connect and develop strong relationships.”
How can members contact you?