Interview by Beyang Verdell.
PEACE CAMEROON: Greetings Mr. Mambe and thanks for granting PEACE CAMEROON (PC) this interview. Please do tell us. Who is Mambe Churchill Nanje?
MAMBE CHURCHILL: Well I am called Mambe Churchill, a native of Ndian Division. I prefer people call me Churchill Nanje (CN). I am in my early 30s. My dad had six children and I am the fifth, my mom had two children and I am the first. I did my primary education in Douala and attended secondary school at P.H.S (Presbyterian High School), Kumba. From Kumba, I came to Buea where I began Computer software programming on my own and now I running my own Tech-Business.
PC: What is Njorku and what are the Visions of Njorku?
CN: We help people find jobs, which indirectly means that we help Companies find the right talented people.
When you find a job, the company has found you. It’s more of an action and reaction process. Njorku innovates solutions and Technologies that help the people of Cameroon in particular and Africa as a whole. So every day we work on new ways to help people find jobs. Njorku.com, which is our first product is a job Search Engine. For example if you are looking for a job as an accountant, all you need do is to go tell Njorku. Njorku then goes to the net and finds accounting jobs for you, tells you when it was published and then you apply. You can also upload your CV and specify the kind of jobs you are looking for. Njorku then search for you and when we do find the jobs that match your profile, we do get to you. We also build solutions that help companies run their recruitment, help them publish their jobs and help the jobs appear on Njorku website. We track the applicant and manage their data base system so they don’t get to have a lot of paper work, all digitally. We help companies manage their CV Banks
PC: How is Njorku connected to the Silicon Mountain in Buea?
CN: Njorku is actually one of the players of the Silicon Mountain. Silicon is just a name given to this environment because of the technology and Entrepreneurs here. So therefore, we call our technology ecosystem scene here Silicon Mountain. And our technology scene here is made up of many young entrepreneurs who are starting their own small businesses. All of us form what we call the Silicon Mountain and Njorku is just one of the players of the Silicon Mountain.
PC: How did the Internet shutdown in the early parts of 2017 in the English speaking regions affect the activities of Njorku and how is the operating atmosphere today for you?
CN: It really hurts our business and me as a businessman. We spent a lot of money and incurred a lot of losses during that period. We were spending that much just to sustain things but unfortunately we didn’t see that coming. And till date, trust me when I do say we are recovering from the shock of the breakdown and all the financial losses we did incurred during that time.
PC: What advice can you give to the youths out there in postcolonial Cameroon and Africa as a whole, most especially those that aspire to be like you?
CN: Knowledge is power. But skills are more powerfully. Get skills people can pay you for, either as an employer or an entrepreneur in order to start up your own business. I won’t be surprised if someone leaves the University and decides to go do carpentry. I think those are some of the things we need to start pushing most Cameroonians towards. You get a degree and later on you get carpentry skills. Don’t be surprised; in 5 years you will own your own wood furniture business in which you know how wood is being produced and refined instead of importing furniture and so forth. Once you pick it up from there, you start hiring people. And if you go to school, you will be aware that you can use the Internet to sell your furniture. This, I believe is innovation. Research, go online and get ideas and knowledge on different things and issues. It’s normal that at the beginning it might not be attractive but in the long run don’t be surprised that you might own a factory. The Internet is there and has everything. Search on the different machines and items that can help you process wood better; make it last better and well polished.
We do import so much, whereas we do have the skills to produce such things. But most Cameroonians today are just too proud. We need to humble ourselves, learn how to do things in a more sustainable way, sell online and so forth. I for one started just like a web developer and it seemed I was crazy but now I can hire other people. It could be wood works, building and construction, motor mechanic, etc., etc. People might think it is not attractive but in 5 years, you can actually own a large factory. It’s not just the roadside guys, you can have a very big business repairing cars. Most people don’t see it and think it’s only the roadside guys that make it. But I say no, you can have a whole big company repairing cars. There are guys like that in Douala and many other places. Therefore we should go towards acquiring skills we can advertise. Take for instance accounting, it’s not only the theory part you can learn, there is also the practical part of it, practicing how accounting is done. So my last word goes thus; we should all focus on acquiring skills, get to the market and after two or three years, people will talk about you. It’s not magic.
PC: Thank you Mr Churchill Nanje and it’s a privilege having PEACE CAMEROON here at Njorku and we do hope this partnership between Njorku and PEACE will spring forth in the nearest future.
CN:Thank you too.