Twenty persons drawn from various financial institutions and service providers in Monrovia concluded a one-day seminar on the role of microfinance institutions and business development service (BDS) providers and integrating their services in the country.
The Investing for Business Expansion (IBEX) which organized the seminar is a USAID funded program.
The purpose of the training, which took place at a local resort in Monrovia on Monday, was to increase the participants’ understanding of how to provide non-financial or business development services to micro entrepreneurs.
The participants discussed best practices and guiding principles for successful business development initiatives, which must be demand-driven, in which the micro, small, and medium enterprise (MSME) community must have ownership.
In her opening remarks, Mrs. Watchen Harris Bruce, Chief of Party (IBEX), challenged the participants to prepare themselves adequately to attract other sources of funding.
In addition, she said the initiative should achieve maximum outreach, be financially sustainable and able to identify the right people for their services.
Rev. Steve N. Gaye, president of the Network of Microfinance Institutions in Liberia, said the workshop afforded him an opportunity to acquire new knowledge, noting that networking is critical for the success of MFIs.
“I’m too impressed. We need to improve our networking activities and be prepared to succeed,” Rev. Gaye said.
Participant Betty K. Sharpe said the workshop was very helpful in identifying some MFIs and BDS providers’ individual and collective strengths and weaknesses.
For her part, Hawa Z. Gotomo of Making Enterprises said, “I now know the importance of networking and will not overburden myself, take unnecessary stress and too much time on a piece of work just to get it done myself.”
Entities represented at the workshop were the Foundation for Women (FFW) and Women and Children Development Association of Liberia (WOCDAL).
The seminar was facilitated by IBEX Chief of Party, Bruce, co-facilitator, Deputy Chief, Augustus J. Flomo and Enterprise Development Specialist Moses Forkpah.