Clarisse Ndingetua Mokwe: Cameroon’s PR Diva

 

by Eleanor Ayuketah

Events Management is a domain many are venturing in nowadays in Cameroon considering the country’s recent interest in fashion and style. One of those making it big in the domain is 27-year-old Clarisse Ndingetua Mokwe, CEO of Beta Media located in Douala, Littoral Region of Cameroon.

BetaMedia is a public relations, media and events company that offers services like the development and execution of marketing and publicity campaigns, stakeholder and community management, social media management and event organisation. Clarisse’s business sprung up from passion. She says candidly “I am a very opinionated person, I have an opinion about everything, and I wanted to let people hear my voice and my opinion. In a bid to get my voice heard, I realised that the media platforms already existing were inaccessible to ‘regular people’ like me, so I decided to create my own media platform.”

Clarisse and staff after a media event

Clarisse started with one digital platform (a blog) in 2013 now online at www.betatinz.com. Today, she owns and additional blog, www.betagirls.org, and is developing a podcast and TV show as well.

“Growing the audience for my blogs taught me how to grow communities online and create relevant content for particular groups of people, that is how I got into community management and content creation. In addition, my flair for communication and media, coupled with my passion to grow my blogs, pushed me to venture into public relations.”

“I am most proud of my entrepreneurship journey so far; the obstacles I have conquered, the failures I have endured and the successes I have achieved.”

Clarisse further explains that she used to organise and execute events as a side hustle in university. At some point, it dawned on her to put all she did under one umbrella, and that is how Beta Media was born. But becoming an entrepreneur is not all rosy … the story of Clarisse Mokwe’s life! “My biggest challenge till today has been funding. I have tried to get people to invest but either they don’t believe in it or they want to exploit me and my ideas.” In this regard, her business so far has been self-funded, “No grants, no investors, no bank loans, just me putting my earnings into it.”

“Do what you can with what you have,” is one of those pieces of advice which has impacted Clarisse a great deal. “It made me realize that I can only do as much as I can do, and I don’t have to overthink about what I need that I don’t have.”

And this is how Clarisse Mokwe who studied Petroleum Engineering at the Cameroon Christian University, Bamenda, got into the field of communication, “Most of what I am doing right now, I learned how to do by educating myself via the internet, reading books, and learning from those who were in the business before me.”

As concerns the Cameroonian womenfolk, Clarisse tells them that faith in God, love, passion, patience and the will to succeed, are the strongest forces that would make a business thrive. “Do not venture into a business if you don’t love what you do. As humans, most of us have several talents and abilities; some are innate, some are acquired, some are imposed on us by society and circumstances, but to venture into something as a business, make sure it is built from a talent or ability that you love expressing.”

As for the ladies in general, Clarisse advises, “Believe in yourselves and value your bodies. The women need to know that they are smart enough to get clients and deals through hard work and competence, not with their bodies. Also don’t let your emotions rule your sense of judgement and work ethic. When it comes to work, be professional.”

In her opinion the biggest barrier to women entrepreneurs is the fact that many people (especially men) do not take women seriously, “They don’t believe that we can actually make those boss moves and call the necessary shots. The desire to prove those people wrong should be a stepping stone to work hard and move forward.” Clarisse goes on to indicate that the attitude toward female entrepreneurs is changing in Cameroon though at a very slow pace. She also adds that when she just started, she easily got frustrated when she failed or did not attain what she wanted to. “But now I know it’s all part of the process, and that as much as I work hard, pray hard and believe, I would eventually succeed.”

The birth of Clarisse’s determination to succeed was the death of her father in 2010. “When my father passed, I knew that I had to be sure of what I wanted to do and do it. The reality of death struck me and it dawned on me that I had no more time to waste doing anything that was not relevant for my life, career or future.”

To Clarisse, her faith in God, strong believe in herself, determination to succeed, the will to inspire, love for what she does and the urge to make a difference in her society and in the world are her sources of inspiration. “From successes, I’ve learned that success and greatness take time, and that everything I go through is part of the training process to the greatness I want to achieve. From failures, I learnt that nothing happens for nothing. The failure is either for me to learn a lesson or pause and redirect my steps or distance myself from attitudes or people that are pulling me back.”

If Clarisse is awake at night, mind you she is thinking; visualising the future she wants for herself in her mind’s eye, believing and hoping that she would indeed live it just as she sees it in her mind. And that is certainly why in five years to come, she sees her media platforms as both digital and mainstream household names. She also sees her agency organising ground-breaking and revolutionary events in Cameroon. “I see brands and individuals running to my agency to cater to their media and communication needs. I see my agency expanding into different departments.”

Clarisse has seven employees right now at Beta Media. You can reach her online through the following social media addresses: Website: www.beta-media.com and Facebook/Twitter/Instagram: @betamedia237

Eleanor Ayuketah is a Cameroonian Journalist and GMT WIMN (Graca Machel Trust’s Women in Media Network) member. You can follow her on Twitter or her own blog.