This site was created by me, Bill Zimmerman, to share with others my daily experience as a technologist working in the Republic of Cameroon. I’m a strong advocate of entrepreneurship in ICT, and a firm believer that lasting development comes from market-oriented solutions and community engagement.
Cameroon is a country with hugely untapped ICT potential, with the additional advantages of having a high literacy rate and being officially bilingual in English and French. There’s a growing movement afoot here led by talented Cameroonian hackers and idealists to move the country into a modern, knowledge-based economy. It’s an exciting time and place to be a software entrepreneur.
I thrive on creativity, innovation and technical challenges. To that end, I’ve joined with several Cameroonian friends to co-found an open collaboration space and startup incubator in the vibrant university town of Buea. It’s loosely styled after the Y Combinator model mixed with open coworking spaces like Nairobi’s iHub, adapted to the unique local conditions and needs found here in Cameroon. We provide a great place for techies to work, seed-stage financing for those who need it, technical training, capacity building, coaching, mentorship and all the support a young entrepreneur or startup team needs to bring their ideas to market.
Prior to Cameroon: I worked for 15 years as a software engineer for Microsoft, Visio and smaller companies in the greater Seattle area. During this time, I did a stint with an Internet incubator at the height of the dot-com boom, and gained valuable insight into the world of venture capital, angel investment and what it takes to get a technology startup off the ground.
Favorite post: The Virtues of Small Software, on programming’s roots and the competitive advantage Africans have in the global software arena.
One interesting fact: I founded a popular social networking website for people obsessed with sushi. Yes, you read that right. It enabled travelers to find their nearest, best-rated sushi restaurant with a mobile phone in 20 major US cities. It was a strange idea with a flimsy business plan, but AT&T Wireless liked it so much that we were awarded a contract. Soon after, our service appeared on 40+ million AT&T/Cingular customer handsets. Here’s some press. For those so inclined, here’s some unrelated factoids.
Current work: I divide my time between ActivSpaces, working on the VC4Africa matchmaking platform, my role as a founding member of the AfriLabs network of African technology hubs and participating in conferences with a focus on Africa tech, among other things. I am genuinely fortunate to have my job.
Other projects: Collaborating with like-minded groups and individuals who recognize the vast potential for growing IT entrepreneurship in Cameroon and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Use this form to contact me.