To build on the success of previous Global Entrepreneurship Summits (GES), two Liberian entrepreneurs are expected to join other participants from around the world to attend this year’s summit in Silicon Valley in the United States.
The two participants are Charles Dorme Cooper, born in Monrovia, with over 15 years of experience in branding, marketing, graphic design and web development; and Mlen-Too Wesley, II, a graduate of the University of Rochester who specializes in software engineering and network administration. They are founders of Cookshop, an online platform established in 2013 that allows customers to order food from nearly all of the major restaurants in Monrovia.
The summit, which begins this month, is intended to provide support through training, coaching and mentoring to help African entrepreneurs take business to another level in their respective countries.
The summit is the 7th installment, with previous ones hosted by the governments of the United States, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Morocco and Kenya.
Cooper expressed excitement in representing their fellow entrepreneurs at the summit.
He said their participation will help to improve on their business, as well as help other Liberians in the business sector.
Mr. Cooper said he developed his business plan along with his business partner, Wesley, and pitched their idea to private investors and groups in Liberia.
“We are a home grown enterprise, founded by Liberian ICT professionals, funded by Liberian investors, and powered by local food vendors. As creators of local content, and employers of Liberian youth, we represent the evolution of the ICT sector in Liberia,” he said.
The online platform, Cookshop.biz, contains the menus of nearly every major restaurant in Monrovia. Customers who want food from one of those restaurants but do not want to sit and eat there could place their order remotely through the website and have the food delivered when prepared. The platform works with a seamless automated SMS service that sends the customer a message when the order is placed, when the order is en route for delivery and when the order has been delivered.
Participating restaurants have found the service extremely useful, opening more sales opportunities, while busy professionals in central Monrovia save valuable time by having lunch delivered to their offices. Even during the evenings, small social gatherings opt to have food from their choice of restaurant delivered at home or some other location. Customers can also pick up their orders themselves from the restaurant.
It is not all business for Cookshop. “For every 10 orders placed through Cookshop.biz, we donate one free meal to a kid that needs it,” the company says on its Tumblr page. The meals are mainly intended for school-going kids. On March 31, the Monrovia Football Academy hosted Cookshop’s School
Lunch Program, in partnership with Fuzion d’Afrique Restaurant, which prepared the sandwiches.
According to Cooper, since the establishment of Cookshop they have served over 10,000 customers in Monrovia and are planning to extend their services to places like Nimba, Buchanan and Gbarnga.
Mr. Cooper said doing business in Liberia does not require a lot of money, but with focus and determination any entrepreneur can grow a business.