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Cameroonian Entrepreneur Turns Research Skills Into Business Gains

In the 1980s, a young Cameroonian named Prince Ojong-Ayuk came to the United States for graduate studies in English and communications. He left school before getting his doctorate degree, which some might consider a mistake. But since then Ojong-Ayuk has been very successful in the world of business and investment. VOA English to Africa Service reporter Angel Tabe asked Ojong-Ayuk to describe himself. “I am an investor, and I also consider myself a capitalist, who employs the factors of production, including technology, to produce an unlimited amount of profit. Then an investor is someone who leverages capital to achieve the same goal.”

Ojong-Ayuk says he realizes that the American economy, which was initially agrarian, has transitioned into an information economy. “America doesn’t really manufacture much, so service businesses are good because you don’t require much capital. Basically what you sell is what God has given you – your brains.” Ojong-Ayuk uses his brain to meet the need for information, mainly in the fields of taxes and real estate. He says market tendencies show the real estate sector currently running slow, but he thinks this is the time to buy. “To do well in business you have to be able to survive all kinds of markets – rainy season, dry season. I love it the way it is today because that’s when I’ll start picking up real estate very cheap. Then the market will change again, and a lot of stuff that I bought really cheap I start selling at that point. So I always look at markets positively…. The same concept applies to the stock market.”

Ojong-Ayuk says in the course of his graduate studies he realized that he might not get the type of job he needed but that he could use the skills he had already acquired to improve his situation significantly. “My decision was a personal response to the American environment I found when I got here…. I couldn’t get the jobs I wanted…so the main motivation was to improve my financial situation…. A PhD actually teaches how to research. And today in my businesses, I use my skills to conduct research.” One such research effort led to the establishment of the “Millionaire University,” a training and motivational program designed to help Africans get into business or invest on their own. “The first phase had over 200 members. Many bought homes that are today worth $500,000. We are starting a new program teaching people how to start any business in America…land of opportunity, oasis of prosperity. I encourage people to seek; I think they can find.”