The Mission of WOHAOO, since its registration in March 15, 2014, has been to help people, who are currently excluded from the local financial markets, to get access to the capital they need to start a business. The activities of WOHAOO are of three types:
1. Coaching; that is helping micro-project leaders to get access to business administration knowledge (marketing, operations and accounting);
2. Capital; that is providing people with little or no collaterals (house, lands) to get access to capital;
3. Consulting; accompanying young micro-companies, that we have help fund, in their day to day decision making process.

In Cameroon, and in Africa in general, it is almost an impossible task to get a loan to start a new business. Banks and micro-finance institutions only extend loans to customers with a strong cash-flow record. Because of this situation, the unemployed and the population of the informal sector, which represents more than 85% of the total active population (Source. The Informal Economy in Developing Countries by Jean-Pierre Cling and Stéphane Lagrée, p161), have little to no access to financing services.

Contrary to current financial services (banks and micro-finance institutions), WOHAOO does not make any requirement to be eligible for a loan, neither collaterals, nor a strong cash flow history. WOHAOO offsets the absence of collaterals by drastically reducing the risk (probability) of default (failure) through active lending. At WOHAOO project leaders willing to get a loan, go first through a two-weeks coaching phase where we make sure that they get a strong knowledge in business administration. The business lessons are drawn from the book, Social Entrepreneurship, The S ecret to S tarting a Business Worth Living For, by Marcel Kwedi. The 24 hours business curriculum (12 modules) is accessible even to people with little education. After the business training, participants individually present their project and we help them shape it into a strong business plan. The business plan is then approved or not by the board of directors. If not approved, participants are required to review their business plan for resubmission. Approved projects are then financed.

Currently WOHAOO does not provide direct cash loans. Instead, WOHAOO finances projects through asset-based lending. After the project is started, it is assigned to a WOHAOO project monitor. Projects are monitored until the extended capital is reimbursed. Projects are funded at an annual interest rate of 25%. Although the interest rate is relatively high, compared to local banks (with an annual interest rate of 17,5% on commercial loans), the revenues generated by WOHAOO is shared at the end of each business year amongst the Cooperative members, that is the project leaders themselves.

In Cameroon, the financial market is peopled with three main players: banks (mostly multinational), micro-finance institutions, and ROSCAs (Rotating Savings and Credit Associations). Banks and micro-finance institutions heavily rely on collaterals in order to guarantee the value of the loan extended to their customers. ROSCAs provide their members with a capital that is allocated in a rotating manner. The people in the informal sector have no stable cash-flow streams. They are therefore out of the reach of financial institutions. Furthermore, the size of the capital provided by a ROSCA is too small (in the context of Cameroon) to start a new business. WOHAOO comes in the picture and changes the rules of the game. At WOHAOO loans are guaranteed, not by the cash-flow record, or collaterals, but by business education. At WOHAOO we believe that people having a strong business education have twice more chance to run a successful business than people with no business training.

Because WOHAOO requires no collaterals (assets or cash-flow) in order to get a loan, millions of people in Cameroon will get access to credit, especially people working in the informal sector (representing about 13 million people according to the 1997 population census). For example, someone willing to start a food service, goes to the nearest WOHAOO hub and without any collateral gets the capital he or she needs. Currently WOHAOO only operates one pilot hub in Ngaoundere, Cameroon. However, we intend to open a hub in every big town of the country. Accessibility is not the only competitive advantage of WOHAOO. WOHAOO also provides consulting services to its members, thus helping ensure the success of the funded micro-ventures.

The sustainability of the WOHAOO’s financing system is ensured through increasing productivity. For example, after doing the trainings in persons for months, we are looking forward to start our online training platform (edu.wohaoo.com) by January 2015. Also at the same time we intend to automate the business plan selection process through an already developed crowd-funding platform (www.wohaoo.com), where projects will be voted for funds by the members of the WOHAOO cooperative themselves. The use of an online project approval platform is made possible because of the improving communication environment in Cameroon (with the arrival of country-wide mobile 3G networks)