How Rebecca Enonchong Built a Global Application Provider with No Funding
Rebecca Enonchong is a tech-savvy Cameroonian business woman who founded AppsTech, a global provider of corporate software solutions to enterprises across the world.
She launched her business from scratch, on a budget and with no external funds. It is now a multi-million dollar enterprise.
Enonchong was born in 1967 in Cameroon into a humble family. She spent her formative years there before relocating to the United States of America with her family.
Even in her teens, she demonstrated entrepreneurial skills. While still in high school, she worked as a door-to-door newspaper vendor. At age 17, she became the manager of the business.
She attended and graduated from the Catholic University of America with a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in Economics.
After graduating, she worked in prestigious multinational corporations such as the Inter-American Development Bank and Oracle Corporation.
Despite this, she decided to start her own company. In 1999, she launched her business, despite having no funds and only little savings.
How Rebecca Enonchong built her empire
Though with no financial aid, Rebecca Enonchong took a leap of faith. For two weeks, she focused only on developing a well-structured business plan.
She said, “While writing it, I was fully honest because I was writing it for me, not for bankers or investors. I was able to be very transparent about my flaws and market dangers.
This way, I could come up with counter-strategies. My company strategy shifted dramatically from what I had planned due to this”.
Even though it was just her, this did deter her from thinking and planning big. During this time, she narrowed down her target clients to multinational companies. So, she ensured it was up to that standard.
With the internet just budding in 1999, Enonchong leveraged it. She studied and modelled her business websites to the likes of Arthur Andersen, PwC, and Capgemini. She also made it available in both English and French.
Getting an apartment and an office space was out of the question due to a lack of funds. So, while she squatted with someone, she utilised a virtual business address on her website and business card.
To ensure flexibility, she did not add a title. She said, “I didn’t put a title on the card. I wanted the flexibility of becoming the CEO or just one of the engineers depending on the scenario. Even though it was a one-person operation, I marketed myself as a multinational organisation”.
5 Business Lessons from Rebecca Enonchong
The first breakthrough
Sometimes you have to spend a little money to acquire something. Rebecca Enonchong spent a thousand dollars on herself to attend an industry convention.
There, she sold out her business and landed her first customer – a multinational company.
She didn’t let the fact that she was the only entity in her business deter her. What mattered to her was delivery. She said, “They wanted some technical guidance, which I knew I could provide”.
The proceed from her first business success went into her company. She got an office and hired an assistant.
While building this milestone, Rebecca was still homeless for two years. This way, she was able to give it all her time and undivided attention.
In her words, “I was homeless and couch-surfed for two years before I finally got my place. Because I didn’t have a home, I could focus entirely on my business.
I wouldn’t leave the office until at least 2:00 AM. There were absolutely no distractions; there was no comfort”.
By defining her standard and market width to cover multinational corporations, she was able to go global and outperform her competitors, who focused solely on the local market.
Due to this, she didn’t have to worry about pivoting. To her, “Global in one location with four employees is the same structure as global in ten locations with hundreds of employees. Global is a way of thinking.”
Rebecca Enonchong milestones
She was recognised as a Global Leader for Tomorrow (GLT) in 2002 by the World Economic Forum with notable digital entrepreneurs such as Larry Page, co-founder of Google, and Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com.
Rebbecca was named a finalist for the African Digital Women award in 2013. Also, Forbes named her one of the ’10 Female Tech Founders to Watch in Africa’ in 2014.
She started many projects in both the United States and Africa to promote technology in Africa. She also founded and chaired the Africa Technology Forum, a non-profit organisation committed to assisting African technology entrepreneurs.
Rebecca is a member of the Salesforce Foundation’s board of directors and also a member of the board of VC4Africa, one of Africa’s largest online forums dedicated to entrepreneurs and investors.
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