"Our vision is that through the Aws computing group, our youths may come to exploit the riches of the world, and through it the world may change their perception of Africa. Africa has a lot to offer, but unfortunately has never ever had the opportunity to prove to the world what she can do. Her full potential has never been exploited."
Shang Alphonse Samoa Co-Founder at Cloud Heroes Africa
Q1:Tell us about your yourself:
I have a background in Banking and Finance and worked as Bank branch manager for over 7 years then later on focused on Digital Banking channels and Youth Banking operations. I excelled in Banking and I was noted for always thrilling customers with excellent services. I hold a Masters Degree in Economics and Management obtained from the University of Yaounde II-Soa in Cameroon.
As one of the founding members of Cloud Heroes Africa, I am passionate about helping people become the best versions of themselves and make the world a better place.
I am very enthusiastic about Cloud computing and I am a source of motivation to many students. I am passionate about motivating students to rise up, work hard, develop high moral and ethical values and encourage teamwork.
Q2:What does your company do?:
Cloud Heroes Africa is a non-profit , support and learning group set out to help Africans to learn and grow in this new era of cloud computing Since its creation in 2021 we have grown to 660 members and counting. We have members from Cameroon, Nigeria, South Africa, Congo, Kenya, Mozambique, Equatorial Guinea.
Expecting members from more countries to join. Our youngest participant is 16 years and the oldest is a couple in Mozambique, who want to provide a better future for their Family. So far we have had 8 certified members. 5 women and 3 men. We have approximately 50 volunteers from Go Cloud Architect, who teach us 3 times a week on the basics of cloud computing. We are limited by the poor network in Cameroon most especially and the unavailability of study devices.
Our dream is to take Africa to the cloud. We are figuring out the contours, meandering alongside technology and following the digital transformation compass.
Q3: What inspired you to start your business?:
Our driving force was to offer our youths employment, giving them a space to compete internationally, prove their intellectual and academic capacity while simultaneously reducing poverty, idleness which often lead to vice.
Q4: How do you define your business model; what differentiates your products or Services from others?:
Our vision is that through the Aws computing group, our youths may come to exploit the riches of the world, and through it the world may change their perception of Africa. Africa has a lot to offer, but unfortunately has never ever had the opportunity to prove to the world what she can do. Her full potential has never been exploited.
Q5: Starting a business is not easy. What struggles did you experience in the infant years of your company and how did you overcome it?:
90% of our students are based in West Africa and as other parts of Africa is not only limited by equal distribution of financial resources but also by power shortages, Internet instability and limited electronic devices.
Even though the students are motivated and determined to eliminate poverty and forge for a better future, the uncontrollable factors keep holding them back. We are still in the overcoming stages. We are continuously encouraging them and looking for affordable means of making the journey smoother.
For example, studying during the early hours of the morning (4 am) when the Internet is stable, researching for cheaper internet connectivity, power chargers for saving electricity and many more.
When students get certified , picks up a cloud related job, when our students come to the realisation that remote jobs are possible, when elderly people find a reason to go back to school, when even nursing mothers, wives and fathers can believe in a career, and when students no longer have to depend on the failing system, it gives me and my team joy
Q6: What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started?:
- Plan carefully
- Learn quickly from your failures and move on
- Failure and disappointment is inevitable
- Nothing is permanent
Q7: What are your 3 priorities right now:
Equipping the students with the necessary tools and skill-set required for a successful career in the cloud.
Getting the students certified, which serves as a motivational factor for them and future students, which also serves as a gateway to facilitate employment.
Educating the future leaders of Cloud Heroes Africa.
Q8: What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?:
To encourage and provide education to Africans and the less Privilege in the information technology domain.
Development of local communities through continuous training programs with the help of modern technological tools.
To bridge the technological skills gap existing across Africa by leveraging the resources and opportunities available to build a robust Cloud Heroes Africa (CHA) ecosystem.
Q11: Advice to other entrepreneurs or to your younger self?:
Believe in yourself and your dreams. Know that success is not comfortable. Always give back, plant seeds for the next generation. Success awaits those who put in the work. You always reap what you sow.
A world renown expert once emphasised that today's unfolding 4th industrial revolution (4IR), will see 3 categories of winners emerging. Namely, 1) Those with the capital to invest in innovative internet inventions, 2) Those who own the Intellectual Property (IP) and are leveraging digitisation to revolutionise industries. Last but not least 3) those with relevant industry skills and are very good at what they do. This latter category, stands out most, as the key drivers of any sustainable innovation, and stand a chance to emerge as the biggest of all winners, as the 4IR movement, gains a further momentum.
Lowering the drone further on this, towards a practical 4IR example: today's eCommerce companies are giant behemoths when viewed next to traditional retail company models. Take Amazon for instance, back in 2019, was more than 15x bigger than Walmart. Put in perspective: Amazon posted $346.5 billion compared to Walmart.com's modest $25.1 billion.
AirBnB, an online marketplace for lodging, primarily home-stays for vacation rentals, has over 4 million listings, it is worth more than the 3 largest hotel chains combined. Ride shaping Apps, Uber and Lyft, are now much bigger than age old traditional taxi business models. Chinese owned, fast fashion company, Shein is now worth more than Zara and H&M combined. I can go on and on. The picture is clear: 4IR powered business model deserve much of our attention. Cloud computing, among other 4IR enabling technologies, are the silent heroes of this unfolding revolution, and stand to power future industrial revolutions.
Talking about silent heroes quietly powering 4IR: if Africa is going to bridge the skills deficit gap, then entities like Cloud Heroes Africa are a must have, for the continent, towards ensuring the equipping and deployment of emerging heroes, in a form of cloud certified experts across sub-disciplines, within this space.
My salutations to Shang Alphonse Samoa and the Cloud Heroes Africa team for their bold efforts towards democratising cloud computing and related digitisation skills, making them accessible to African communities. Here's to their unfolding success and further momentum.
David Akinwale Leadership Coach, HR Professional - Alpha Global Leadership Academy
Africa is the next big market. Have you ever wondered why those big technology giants are prioritising Africa, the likes of Twitter, Amazon, Microsoft etc. The African continent is home to some of the youngest populations in the world, and an emerging digital ecosystem is particularly crucial as a multiplier of that growth.
We need to understand that our competitor is now at the global level and this is what Cloud Heroes Africa is doing to solve the problem to enable Africa to have access to global opportunities not minding the challenges at hand. Over 10% of Internet users are in Africa, and 50% of Africans have mobile phones and their penetration is expanding rapidly. We can’t run away from these challenges but we must find a solution.
I’m so impressed with the tenacity, commitment and passion of Cloud Heroes Africa team to encourage the people in Africa to find possible means to enable them to have a good learning process. Obviously, their vision is contagious and fascinating.
We have young minds who are looking for opportunities to learn and develop their technology skills, and we have a lot of female developers in Africa now. Cloud computing is a future skill and one of the most sought after in the world of technology.
According to research by the World bank, over the past 18 months, the World Bank Group has implemented an ambitious umbrella initiative to connect the African continent to broadband by 2030 and leverage digital tools for economic transformation, creating better jobs for more people.
I’m looking forward to Cloud Heroes Africa doing better things than before and also having access to investors to scale higher in their business and to keep building an enabling environment that provides access to global opportunities.
In 2020 the World Economic Forum published a report on how automation would eliminate 85 million jobs by 2025, at the same time, automation is expected to create 97 million new jobs, meaning an overall addition of 12 million jobs. The thought leadership forum stressed the need for "reskilling" & "upskilling" for those with existing jobs but also the prioritisation of digital skills by communities, individuals and countries alike. I cannot stress enough the need for adoption and/or availing of digital skills across Africa, as the continent gears to create or preserve jobs at scale. In this vein: efforts by Cloud Heroes Africa are adding positively to particularly West Africa's digitisation narrative, before expanding to other regions.
They are ensuring that previously left behind communities, who often caught the tail end of previous industrialisations, are being positioned to the frontlines, through skills training. Giving these individuals and communities employable skills whilst preparing them to participate in the economy with relevant digital skills.
Africa needs more trade and less aid, more skills, less sympathy, if we are to ensure that stand on our own and can compete shoulder to shoulder with established economies. Hats off Shang Alphonse Samoa and the Cloud Heroes Africa team for their selfless efforts. I look forward to their equipping more communities and putting more capable heroes to work.
Olatunji B. Alonge Speaker l Podcaster & Founder - Growth Hive Consulting
A 15th century king said, “Heaven revealed to me that my people are poor because they cannot read and write.” Cloud Heroes Africa caught this vision and the way they are running with it is giving us so much digital safety for the future as their methods of reaching out to their trainees are intentional. The gap is large and only heroic efforts can give us short curves. Cloud Heroes Africa needs more partners across Africa and beyond to be able to leverage more relevance.
The challenges highlighted by Cloud Heroes Africa are great opportunities for Africa entrepreneurs to deepen innovation and upscale capacity. There is no need to make the noise that Cloud Heroes Africa herself is raising her own heroes. Africa is taking over the future of digital technology, Cloud Heroes Africa assures this even more.
Connect with Shang Alphonse Samoa
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