New in our BEEA summit series “Profiling Africa’s future” we have; Rollin FOKO, a Business Plan Specialist with M2B Conseils in Douala, Cameroon. He is a Business Plan specialist with 21 years of work experience as a consultant, particularly helping entrepreneurs find local and foreign investors. His consultancy firm focuses around three main areas:
Firstly, design Thinking (Innovative project management where they assist entrepreneurs to setup their businesses through feasibility studies including Business plan writing, market research, financial and technical studies.
secondly on leadership/effectuation/ (coaching, mentoring, networking, lobbying) and lastly fund raising (Local and international founder bench marking, finance schemes and deal closing)
He works with Cameroonian and African entrepreneurs with business ideas in many sectors; including agriculture, forestry, manufacturing, food processing, packaging, mining, telecommunication, and services.
In 2004, Rollin created his own consulting firm, M2B Conseils. He also designed financial software, OHADA FIPRO SOFT, to help start-ups develop their business plans, identify financing, solvency and profitability constraints.
Rollin was named “Ambassador of Entrepreneurship’’ at the 2011 Global Entrepreneurship Week (www.genglobal.org). He was awarded as Africa “Best Mentor” during the Tony Elumelu Foundation Forum 2017 (Lagos, Nigeria, October 2017).
In the following interview, he shares his views and story through the entrepreneurial journey.
“In 2002, while studying in France, I was very connected to Cameroon news via websites and when I heard about the second bridge on the Wouri river, I understood that something was going to happen to our country and I decided to be interested in writing business plans for people who wanted to invest. Before travelling to France, I had written a business plan for a company in 1998 and through this I learned a lot so was a bit use to writing enterprise procedures and doing end of year inventories with some big consultancy firms like Ernst & Young or PriceWaterHouseCooper, this was the beginning of my journey into entrepreneurship”
What was your key driving force to become an entrepreneur ?
My vision to help people by designing their business was my key driving force. Then when I returned to Cameroon, I decided to open my own company with 3 activities : Consultancy, Multimedia and Computer sciences. The 2 other activities were created in order to employ youths and that was the case till 2009 where I gave up Mutltimedia & computer sciences to focus on consultancy.
How do you market your business, and which tactics have been most successful ?
We mostly market our business by doing good jobs and earning recommendations, having a good notoriety with our Corporate Social Responsibility (Free training, volunteering, free mentoring platforms etc)
What’s your greatest fear as a startup and how do you manage it ?
Not having key human resources to afford a new project.
We are use to permanent consultants who gain higher expertise into the enterprise over a decade. They have been also encourage to open their own companies, they are actually subcontractors and are prepared to become key partners in the future.
What will you say are the best three skills needed to become an entrepreneur ?
Perseverance – Patience – Commitment
What are some of the challenges you face as an entrepreneur ?
Making more people having entrepreneurship mindset and ideas about project maturation
What do you think could be done to improve the circumstances ?
More sensitization, more entrepreneurship events over Africa and over the world
What piece of advice would you give young people who want to venture into entrepreneurship ?
They should believe in their business, find a mentor and learn more about how to make friends
(*) Effectuation : A logic of thinking, discovered through scientific research, used by expert entrepreneurs to build successful ventures.