Founded in the West African city of Bamenda, FOMBILLION is a vertically integrated Creativity company operating in the Cultural and Creative sectors. Through its subsidiaries, FOMBILLION creates and sells different types of products, services and platforms, related to Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Lifestyle, Tourism, Media and Marketing. FOMBILLION has a well dedicated staff, made of very creative and strategic people, who are so passionate about the Creative and Cultural sector.
COMPANY HISTORY AND MAJOR TIME LINE
In actual fact, the history of FOMBILLION is better understood when you read alongside the early career profile of the company’s founder. Born on April 16th 1975, Armstrong Fombi, also known as King Armstrong DeGreat, started his journey in the creative sector at a very tender age. He took interest in singing and acting in nursery school stage presentations.
In primary school, he started drawing, designing houses, writing songs, listening regularly to his favourite artist – Jimmy Cliff, writing fan mails to “Reggae Time” an 80’s show on former “Radio Bamenda”, and also became a member of the “Bamenda Red Cross Band”. In 1985, he attended his first live music concert and also recorded his first demo in 1986, with his father’s radio cassette recorder and a local guitar, which he crafted. While in primary school, he was a regular visitor to the defunct Bamenda Museum and Cultural Centre, and also found strong interest in reading novels, magazines and newspapers, which he often got from his father’s vast print media collection.
His creative entrepreneurial spirit started manifesting at aged 13, as a student in the prestigious Cameroon Protestant College (CPC Bali), when he created TANA (Two “A” News Agency), a campus based Information portal, whereby he will go to the school library, cull various human interest stories and re – write them out in briefs, on A3 size sheets, then paste them up twice a week in the class room for his mates and teachers to read. Interestingly, TANA still exists today as an internet news portal renamed FOMBITANA. In 1989, still in CPC Bali, he applied to the International Youth Service and received Pen Pal forms with which he connected students to foreign Pen Pals, in return for 300 CFA per form.
He kept on doing musical performances and sketches on campus, and in 1990, adopted his first showbiz name “Ramzy”. In 1991, he teamed up with four school mates and created a music group called “Busy Boys On The Track”. During the long holidays of 1991, he went solo and started taking dance lessons at GRAFIGANG, a defunct dance school in Bamenda, while writing songs, and performing in talent shows. In 1994, he adopted a different showbiz name “Dazzling Fombi” and was already a prominent hip-hop artist on the underground music scene in Bamenda with a few demo recordings to his credit.
In 1995, aged 20, the challenges of getting a record deal and a failed attempt to get a scholarship to study in Berkllee College Of Music, USA, motivated him to create DAZFOM Entertainment. In 1996, he applied to La Republique du Cameroun’s Ministry of Culture and was granted an authorisation to operate as a Cultural & Show Business Promoter. Under DAZFOM Entertainment, he started Managing Artists and Organising Talent Shows, Concerts and House Parties. In September 1996, DAZFOM Entertainment successfully organised “Remember Tupac Shakur”, an event to commemorate the passing of Rap Music Legend Tupac Shakur. In December 1996, DAZFOM Entertainment produced the commercially successful 1996 “Bamenda Amateur Music Awards” put together to round off a three month weekly Talent Show, co-organised with Master NgwaNgwa and Hard Pee.
Between 1997 and 2000, he studied for a B.A Degree Course in Performing Arts, in Yaoundé University 1. Throughout university, he carried on with activities of DAZFOM Entertainment, shuttling between Bamenda and Yaoundé.
FOMBILLION LOGO Upon the liberalization of the Audiovisual sector in La Republique du Cameroun in the year 2000, he changed the name from DAZFOM Entertainment to ARMSTRONG-FOMBI OUTFLOW, and expanded into the production of Radio and TV Adverts. That same year, he started “Scenerybills”, a tourism agency, but by 2001, the challenges in raising 15.000.000 CFA, as the main requirement by the La Republique du Cameroun’s Ministry of Tourism, to operate a tourism agency, forced him to halt the activities of SceneryBills. Its worth noting that SceneryBill was revived in 2016, and renamed “FOMBITRATOU”, a travel and tourism agency, which is another unit of FOMBILLION.
In 2002, ARMSTRONG-FOMBI OUTFLOW, published the first issue of “UPKONTRI” a cultural publication, edited by King Armstrong, who immediately moved the company’s office from his parents compound to the 4th floor, suite 402, NWCA building, Commercial Avenue, Bamenda.
Between June 2003 and June 2004, ARMSTRONG-FOMBI OUTFLOW, produced a full season of the highly rated black music radio show titled “DIOBORIM” which aired on “Abakwa FM” in Bamenda.
In November 2004, the company, launched it’s second publication “PEEVEE”, a success story publication. Its worth noting that “PEEVEE” was reconceptualised and renamed “PVI” in 2015. That same year, the company started producing and pitching pilots for TV Shows like “Fombilystik”, “DIOBORIM TV Version” “UPKONTRI Lively”, and “HippiAfrica”, to Douala based channels like STV and Canal 2, but to no avail.
In 2005, the company began producing corporate videos for clients like the top Yaoundé based marketing and communication agency called Regie Star, PNEU Bamenda, TOPROC Finance, etc.
In April 2006, ARMSTRONG-FOMBI OUTFLOW created it’s music unit called FOAMIE Recordings, which officially released the highly successful “Golden Age Souljah”, the debut solo album by Bamenda based Hip-Hop star Fusi.
And in mid 2006, ARMSTRONG-FOMBI OUTFLOW was accredited as the Cameroon representative of African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA).
In March 2007, the company created four other subsidiaries “FOMBITAIZING”, a creative marketing agency, “DAZFOMBI”, a full service variety events company and “FOMBIREADABLE”, a publishing company and “DAZZLINGFOMBI”, an integrated audiovisual company.
In April 2007, “BamendaAlive”, the company’s 3rd publication was launched to rave reviews. BamendaAlive instantly became a success with an increasing advertiser portfolio and circulation.
In November 2007, DAZFOMBI started “UPKONTRI Discussion Forum”, a made-for-TV event aimed at discussing ways forward for the creative industry and in December of 2007, DAZFOMBI produced the 1st edition of BAVENTI Awards.
In 2008, the company’s CEO King Armstrong, changed the company’s name to ARMSTRONG-FOMBILLION GROUP, and increased the staff to eight, five permanent staff and three part time staff.
In March 2008, the DAZFOMBI commenced work on the “Miss Beautyvigence Pageant”, which also led to the creation of “Miss Beautyvigence Leadership Forum”.
But on November 28th 2008, disaster struck the fast growing ARMSTRONG-FOMBILLION GROUP, when fire broke out from nowhere and disrupted the 1st edition of “BamendaAlive Fashion Party” a mega sold-out red carpet event, combining the finals of Miss Beautyvigence 2008 and a lavish banquet with comedy and music performances. The event was holding at “Central Park Hotel”, former Ideal Park Hotel, Bamenda, and by God’s special grace, all the attendees, Miss BeautyViGence finalists and production crew members, came out of the building without a single scratch “GLORY BE TO JESUS”.
However, ARMSTRONG-FOMBILLION GROUP incurred loses of more than 6.000.000 CFA, in terms of equipment, event props, gadgets, valuables, etc. Efforts to get a compensation from the hotel’s management, proved abortive. Till date, the source of fire remains a mystery. Despite the ordeal, ARMSTRONG-FOMBILLION GROUP, pressed on with its major business activities like: event production, artist management, audio visual production and publishing.
In 2009, the company included training to its service portfolio and started organising short periodical training courses in selected domains in Arts and Media.
In April 2010, DAZFOMBI produced the 2nd edition of Miss BeautyViGence, and in November 2010, 2nd edition of Miss BeautyViGence Leadership Forum was also produced.
At the start of 2011, another subsidiary was created called FOMBITALENO, a full service multi talent representation Agency, offering a wide range of services to companies and practitioners in various domains of the sports and creative sector.
By March 2011, the company took a very bad decision to halt all its events production and publishing operations and focused on TV production, hoping to get a co-production deal and produce various magazine shows to be sold to foreign broadcasters.
This move failed terribly after the company heavily invested much of its funds in acquiring some audiovisual equipment hoping to get investors to fund the acquisition of more expensive but relevant equipment. Unfortunately, all of the investors responded negatively. This adverse outcome took a huge toll on the company’s funds, especially at a time when the company’s events productions and publications had all been put on hold.
In 2012, while in the mist of the crises, the company through its publishing subsidiary FOMBIREADABLE, resumed publishing with the creation of a blog called GOCO MARKET, a business publication that profiles entrepreneurs, executives and companies, as a prelude to launch of a print version.
By the middle of 2012, the company was still in terrible financial situation and could not pay staff salaries and rents. And by the middle of 2012, the office was moved, back to the CEO’s family home where it all started.
In 2013, FOMBIREADABLE resumed the printing of UPKONTRI Magazine, and launch of the print version of GOCO MARKET, but shut down the GOCO MARKET Blog. Both publications picked up successfully with positive response from advertisers and the public at large.
By June 2014, the company moved its operations to THINK TANK PLUS, a media company, where it’s CEO Walters N. Ntumngia, offered free space in their reception.
December 2014, came with a re-branding process, which led to a decision to drop the name ARMSTRONG from the company’s name and, in January 2015, the company officially became known as FOMBILLION, with a whole different logo.
In February 2015, the company’s events subsidiary DAZFOMBI, announced the production a new event called GTNP “GOCO TALK & NETWORKING PARTY” with tickets selling at 10.000 Fcfa. The event was produced in March 2015, and it was such a resounding success by all standards.
By the end of June 2015, the company moved from THINK TANK PLUS to its newly rented premises located in the exclusive Up Station area of Bamenda.
In 2016, the company resumed printing of BamendaAlive, and also thrived with its events subsidiary DAZFOMBI, which lucratively produced eight events from its events portfolio between January 2016 and December 2016.
Moving on, FOMBILLION is very stable more than ever before with a team that is determined in achieving the company’s overall mission to “Positively Impact The Minds And Lives Of People Worldwide With Its Very Own Products, Services And Platforms”. WATCH THE SPACE.