The Minister of Commerce and Industry (MOCI), Axel M. Addy, has said over 500 Liberian entrepreneurs, including cross-section of concessions executives, local and international partners will participate in this year’s Micro Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSME) scheduled for Tuesday, November 15, in Monrovia.
Since 2013, the Small Business Administration MSME conference has focused on different topics and allowed SMEs to explore partnerships and receive financing to expand their business operations, Minister Addy told the regular Thursday press briefing at the Information Ministry.
According to him, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf along with her cabinet will officially open the conference at the Monrovia City Hall.
The conference, under the theme, “From Vision to Implementation – Buying Liberian, Building Liberia,” have a special focus on promoting women entrepreneurship for economic empowerment.
“This year is about Liberia’s innovative women entrepreneurs who are contributing to the country’s transformation story by being productive citizens and role models. We are delighted about the level of innovation of Liberian entrepreneurs, mainly women and their commitment to move from one level to other,” Minister Addy said.
He described the conference as an annual capacity building, networking and business linkage event, which is aimed at providing a forum for Liberian women entrepreneurs to participate in a comprehensive E+ business plan for emerging start-up MSMEs, as well as foster women entrepreneurship.
The Commerce Minister said the MSME conference has facilitated over US$1 million in investments in SMEs, with new innovations such as the Liberia Innovation Fund for entrepreneurs and the Liberian marketplace.
This conference, he said, will allow women entrepreneurs to network and share knowledge on innovation.
“It will also select the second class of E+ entrepreneurs to benefit from the Liberian Innovative Fund for Entrepreneurs (LIFE_FUND) and Business Edge training,” Minister Addy said. “Like the E+ first class, the E+ second class will go through entrepreneurship development and mentoring for a two year period and each entrepreneur will receive up to US$10,000 to start their businesses.”
He said this year’s conference will also showcase the Rubber Wood Furniture Hall where carpenters, especially young female carpenters’ innovations be showcased for best innovators. The standard trade fair will showcase 100 SMEs from all over Liberia.
Minister Addy said the theme for 2015 conference emphasized youth innovation for economic empowerment as a vehicle for youth participation in economic development, and showcased their creativity and innovations at the trade fair.
The annual MSME conference is the flagship conference of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry’s Small Business Administration (SBA) Bureau with support from the Government of Japan, in partnership International Finance Corporation, National Port Authority, Firestone Liberia, among others.