Announcing Wilcox Small Loan Scheme (WSLS) for the ActivSpaces Community

steven-wilcox

Stephen Wilcox

Today we are pleased to announce the Wilcox Small Loan Scheme(WSLS) which is now available to the startups and entrepreneurs within the ActivSpaces Community.

WSLS is a small grant amount of $1,000 (or 573,064frs) from Stephen B. Wilcox to ActivSpaces that is allocated as a revolving fund – as per the wish of the donor – for the Startups and Entrepreneurs within ActivSpaces Community.

How will the WSLS operate?

Startups or Entrepreneurs within the ActivSpaces Community will compete for the fund by submitting a project proposal of not more than 3 pages long justifying their funding need. All proposals should be submitted to wsls@activspaces.com. A call for proposals will be made each time all or part of the fund is available for use.

A committee made up of the Business Development Managers of all ActivSpaces branches and at least one Branch Manager will decide which of the Startup(s) or Entrepreneur(s) receive all or part of the fund.

The funding criteria will be based on commitment of the startup or entrepreneur, ability to refund, relevance of the project in relation to the work of the startup or entrepreneur and involvement in the ActivSpaces Community.  

The Startup(s) or Entrepreneur(s) will receive the fund as a very short term loan – ideally less than 6 months – within which time it is expected to be refunded in full plus a 5% monthly interest rate.

Motivation for WSLS

Impressed by the entrepreneurial zeal, enthusiasm, efforts and ingenuity of the over 18 young entrepreneurs he listen to during a pitch session organized for him at ActivSpaces Buea on Friday the 10th of June, 2016, Stephen B. Wilcox who is Principal and Founder of Design Science, announced his willingness to invest in some young entrepreneurs and their startups in a near future. He further discuss the possibility of setting up an Angel Investment Fund for the purpose of investing in the burgeoning entrepreneurial ecosystem in Buea and Cameroon at large.  

Before leaving for the US later that evening, we had a meeting with him when we discussed setting up a micro loan scheme for the ActivSpaces Community as a move to show his support for the community and as a first step towards setting up the Angel Invest Fund. This initiative is what we have now launched as the Wilcox Small Loan Scheme (WSLS).

What problem will the WSLS solve?

We believe that WSLS will be useful to startups and entrepreneurs who have urgent need for small amounts of cash to carry out vital projects to sustain or grow their businesses.

As an example, WSLS will come in handy for entrepreneurs like:

  • Belinda Apoh founder of Beads by Belle when a newly engaged couple places an order for beaded jewelries for their traditional wedding that comes up in a week and she needs additional funding quickly to satisfy this couple.
  • Mohamed Felata founder of VIVA who may want to purchase additional network equipment to complete a project for a new transport agency that just signed a contract with VIVA.
  • Yannick Nkengne founder of Kwiizi who needs to prefinance his participation in a tech event in Yaounde on invitation by MTN Cameroun before he is refunded weeks later.
  • Dongmo Samuel cofounder of Ozipress who needs to buy a plane ticket to attend an award ceremony in Morocco.

And these examples can go on an on. These are vital projects executed at different points in time in the life of a startup that may never get funded by many banking or microfinance institutions. If they do, it is not without lengthy procedures and proof of creditworthiness.

Who is Stephen B. Wilcox – White Nkemnkong?

While we were meeting him for the first time in June 2016, Stephen B. Wilcox is no new face in Cameroon. Steve first visited Cameroon about 15 years ago and since then he visits Cameroon twice every year on average.

In 2003, Steve was awarded the title Nkem by Chief Fondungallah of Lewoh (of Lebialem Division, Cameroon) and in 2005 he was named Nkemnkong. He is a member of Lebialem Royalty USA, the Lebialem Cultural and Development Association, for whom he served on the Board from 2006-2012, and is currently on the board of the Lewoh Cultural and Development Association. In 2006, he created the Fondungallah Foundation to provide support for the Fondungallah Chieftaincy.

Professionally, Stephen B. Wilcox, Ph.D., FIDSA is a Principal and the founder of Design Science (Philadelphia), a 40-person consultancy that specializes in optimizing the usability and safety of medical devices for clients that include many of the largest manufacturers worldwide—e.g., J&J, Baxter, Medtronic, Fresenius, AstraZeneca, Sanofi, BD, Otsuka, Merck, and Novartis. Wilcox is a member of the Industrial Designers Society of America’s (IDSA) Academy of Fellows. He served for several years as Chair of the IDSA Human Factors Professional Interest Section.

Wilcox serves on the Advisory Boards of the Industrial Design Department of Philadelphia University and the School of Design of Carnegie Mellon University, on the Human Factors Engineering Committee of AAMI, and on the ISO/IEC committee (“Working Group 4”) that wrote the medical-device human factors standard, IEC/ISO 62366, and on the Editorial Board of Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry. He holds a BS in psychology and anthropology from Tulane University, a PhD in experimental psychology from Penn State, and a Certificate in Business Administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He has won a number of design awards, has guest edited the journal Innovation several times, has served as a judge for a number of product design award competitions, and has chaired the national IDSA Design Conference and the London-based Include Conference on Inclusive Design.

Wilcox has given hundreds of invited addresses to various organizations, has published more than 70 articles in professional journals, and is the current Editor in Chief of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society journal, Ergonomics in Design. His book, Designing Usability into Medical Products (CRC/Taylor & Francis), co-authored with Michael Wiklund, was published in 2005.

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Otto Akama

Otto Akama

I am a student, an entrepreneur and a founder. I read Computer Engineering, founded iSolutions International, and Makonjoh. I love StartUps especially when they are created by youths. I love them because they give hope that youths are ready to face tomorrow.

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