Customer Connection: NST&T Afrikanet
NST&T Afrikanet is a broadband internet and telecommunications company with the aim of reducing digital divides across the world, especially across Africa. We got the opportunity to speak with Casimir Berthier Fotso Chatue, Co-Founder of Afrikanet, to find out more about their business and their history with Culham Innovation Centre.
What is your name and the name of your business?
Casimir Berthier Fotso Chatue, Co-Founder of NST&T Afrikanet since 2003 with my lovely wife Nathalie.
Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
I go by Caz, I’m a satellite telecom engineer with 35 years of experience. I created Afrikanet in 2003 and have been leading it since then.
What does your business do?
Telecommunication by satellite and procurement services for the United Nations. We work with clients across the world, aiming to reduce digital divides, especially across Africa. Our customers work in a large range of sectors as well, from governments, police, and army to education, NGOs, and TV / radio broadcast.
Do you like working for your business?
Of course! That’s why we spend 18 hours per day, including Saturday, hard at work for it.
What is your history at Culham Innovation centre?
We’ve been here 17 years, since we moved in in 2006. We’re one of the longest occupying members of Culham Innovation Centre.
What aspect of the centre do you enjoy the most?
The social aspect, meeting the other customers and new people every day. In the past, we had something like a coffee morning, and more recently it’s been the monthly networking events with refreshments that we’ve been really enjoying. The centre staff are also very good.
Do you take advantage of our business support services?
Yeah, I’ve spoken to Wendy in the past quite a few times. I’ve managed to get some funding in the past that helps support our business, and she’s helped connect us with some contacts, which was quite useful. That was quite a while ago when I didn’t have the experience that I do today, so we appreciate the Innovation Center for how it helped our company develop and grow, especially when we were first starting up.
What are the next steps for your business? Do you have a 5-year plan?
When you’re in your 70s like I am, it’s more about establishing partnership, ushering in new talent to continue developing on the company and services that we’ve built. We’re actually hiring remote independent consultants all over the world to serve our actual biggest customers, the United Nations, with interventions spread across the world. We recently achieved a half million dollar project in Ukraine. We have remote consultants from Ukraine to Canada, and from Morocco to Cameroon working to achieve our commitments on projects with some UN organizations. This will be the way forward for our business for the next 5 years as our original Satellite telecommunications business is under disruption with the latest Elon Musk Satellite Starlink, and we need to re-invent ourself in a new area before I retire.
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