Based on data from 7 , 350 Cameroonian companies created between 19 90 and 2008, we study the link between the characteristics of indebtedness for young companies during their creation and survival period of up to three years, from three to five years , and beyond five years. We complement our quantitative analysis with semi - dire ctive interviews of Cameroonian entrepreneurs to deepen our study. Our results are manifold . We show that access to bank loan s during the creation phase , as well as the volume of loan s or, to some exten t , the debt ratio improve the probability of survival during the early years , but this effect fades away rapidly . The i nterviews shed light on the motivations of entrepreneurs , particularly o f those with very small businesses. Finally , our work reveal s the antecedent role of their social capital t hat facilitates their access to bank loan s , and , therefore , the probability of company survival.