It is often said that Cameroonians are not creative. This project is a challenge to that. With the right guidance, people from all backgrounds can become innovators and unleash their potential. Reach Out's Innovation Challenge was piloted this August 2016. We trained 200 people, gathered 100 ideas and gave 5 prizes to the most innovative business ideas; we also facilitated the access to funding for more than 15 of those ideas. With your help we will scale-up to 4 more communities.
The economic environment in the South-West Region of Cameroon is narrow, community members have very limited business options and often copy each other. In this climate of perfect competition, where every neighbor sells the same than the next one, farmers and business owners opt for reducing prices or accepting very slow turnovers, profits keep reducing and with them income. Lack of innovation is a problem, a very tangible problem with clear economic impact, yet one that is hardly addressed
Reach Outs Innovation Challenge uses three tools: An Open Contest with a monetary prize for the 3 most innovative business ideas, to put in place incentives for thinking differently. Periodic short Workshops on Creative Thinking, so community members appropriate and use learned techniques. Coaching to facilitate implementation process, development of a business plan and access to credit, to ensure trans formative value-creating ventures are put in place by individuals and communities.
Innovative citizens are more resourceful, raise innovative children and look differently at community problems. The supported entrepreneurs will fight poverty and diversify the economic landscape, making the community more solid economically. They will also be ambassadors of creativity. Physical examples of innovation to be seen, copied and learned from by other community members. Finally, repeating the contest yearly keeps the community constantly thinking of new business ideas.