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For Cameroon to be an emerging economy by 2035, and to foster a lasting peace, we must improve opportunities for women and young people, the majority of whom work in informal SMEs, and face widespread disparities in freedom of economic access in a context of complex and costly regulatory processes; difficulty to access credit and capital; and lack of requisite soft skills for business.

Funding support from Templeton would augment committed support for the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Center (SBEC), which aims to create a more robust and diverse middle class in Cameroon through fostering free enterprise. Specifically, it would underwrite an advocacy campaign with our coalition of stakeholders to promote economic freedom while deepening roots for SBEC as a go-to resource for entrepreneurial training and development. Along with measurable policy improvement, training programs and SME support across 4 regions will result in $3M+ new economic generation; 600+ SMEs improved; and 4500+ workers (75% women and youth) with entrepreneurial soft skills.

To accomplish these, our project will undertake the following main activities: i) Advocacy campaign with a coalition of stakeholders to change policy for more favorable conditions for starting and maintaining businesses; ii) Develop human capital for small business owners, focusing on young entrepreneurs and women; and iii) Conduct job-preparedness boot camps.

This project is needed, because SMEs are a necessary component to meeting development goals. However, in the current context, they can hardly formalize and grow.

The expected outputs are i) Advocacy campaign for more favorable business conditions organized; ii) Training sessions, networking opportunities organized for SMEs; and iii) A 1-week intensive training sessions, quarterly in 4 regions.

Their impact will be a favorable, lasting, sustainable environment for SME growth, improved economic freedom and nationwide progress towards SDGs.