Recently, Christian Ndonga—at the time the managing director of GEN Chad—was appointed Minister of Youth and Sport in Chad.
We spoke with Ndonga on his hopes to continue to serve his community and push through initiatives that advance the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Chad. He also reflected on his time serving GEN Chad as well as being head of the Entrepreneurship World Cup in Chad; and how his time with GEN has undoubtably prepared him for his new role.
GEN: As the founding managing director of GEN Chad, we are eager to follow your journey in your new role. What is your focus going to be as Minister?
Ndonga: My appointment as head of the Ministry of Youth and Sport in my country is both an honor and a huge responsibility – An honor, because it is the first of its kind to entrust a young person to lead the national youth policy. It is an enormous responsibility, because the expectations are high and the project's vast.
But it is the latter that is exciting and thrilling. We are going to analyze the actions according to priorities and urgency; and mobilize the available resources for effective implementation.
One of these projects will undoubtedly be the Youth Entrepreneurship Support Fund. Strategic and tangible proposals will be made, and guidelines will be given to ensure and facilitate the efficient and effective use of this fund by the beneficiaries—namely young people—to make them a breeding ground for creativity and innovation; and a vector for their empowerment in the present and future development of our country.
I am particularly counting on the experiences acquired during these years serving as the managing director of GEN Chad that will undoubtedly allow me to carry out some well-ordered reflections.
Our mission will be to reinvigorate all disciplines. We are going to take steps in this direction and set ourselves progressive objectives until we reach the top level.
GEN: How do you envision your past experience in entrepreneurship—acting as managing director of GEN Chad as well as the national host for Global Entrepreneurship Week—to amplify your new role? Do you see any overlap or ways to continue to guide entrepreneurs in Chad?
Ndonga: For the past six years, with limited resources, we have made it our mission to make entrepreneurship the source of value and wealth creation in the country through many different events: 1 StartOpp Zone Incubator, the organization of three editions of World Entrepreneurship Week, three Hack-a-thons, five Startup Weekends, 6 million CFA raised, 7 competitions,10 companies launched with around 30 young employees, 35 startups incubated. The list goes on and on. These are my greatest achievements, and the foundation is based upon passion and the quest to positively impact the community.
My new position is obviously an additional opportunity to do more in this direction for a much greater impact such as the institutionalization of Global Entrepreneurship Week because through the results achieved to date, we remain convinced that this project is an important capital to drive economic development in our country.
GEN: Who from GEN Chad will take the lead on EWC going forward?
Ndonga: In the Entrepreneurship World Cup, we have always worked as a team, and the real linchpin of the implementation remains Elvis Roass Junior. He is an executive member of GEN Chad. Despite his youth, he is full of talent and has always been a force for proposition. I hope you will be able to meet him very soon.
I will not fail to remain a support for him – a support that will allow him to continue with strength and vigour.
Within the framework of the Global Entrepreneuship Week Chad, the Youth Network for Development and Leadership in Chad will continue the mission. A president of the organizing committee has been chosen. Mr. Abdelrahamane Adam Mahamat was elected, but it still remains under the general coordination of my interim Elvis Roass Junior.
GEN: What one piece of advice would you give to young entrepreneurs in Chad and around the world?
Ndonga: We live in a world where competitiveness is increasing, and opportunities are full and diverse. As young people, we must strive for excellence within our work. We must get out of our comfort zone, explore horizons and above all, learn from our mistakes to stand out. On a rough road, only the most determined and enduring will be able to continue and therefore succeed.