The Deputy Chief of Party for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Investing for Business Expansion (IBEX) project, Augustus Flomo, says a six-member consortium has been elected to help drive Liberia’s business sector to another level.
The consortium includes William R. Dennis of Business Start-Up Center Monrovia, chairman; Samuel Thompson of Agency for Economic Development and Empowerment, co-chairman; Watchen H. Bruce of IBEX, secretary; and O. Natty B. Davis of Deveron Incorporated, legal adviser.
Others are Sophiatou Colliee of Pact Liberia as legal affairs for the consortium and Edwina V. Lincoln of Business Link Incorporated as assistant secretary.
Speaking Thursday at the end of a two-day workshop, which climaxed with the election of the consortium membership, Mr. Flomo said the officials would perform three major functions to help Liberians in the development of their businesses. The functions include standardizing business development across the country, working with stakeholders and elevating the conversations of business development.
“I have explicit confidence in those elected to drive Liberian business development to another level,” said Flomo.
“We have observed that many Liberian businesses have challenges in moving their businesses in terms of their marketing system, including records keeping, financial management and governance on how they make decisions on the growth of the businesses.”
Mr. Flomo said the newly elected consortium would be officially introduced to the government and partners as well as donors on April 20 as the first team that is expected to take business to another level, including advocating for business development.
According to him, many businesses or business owners don’t plan with targets, especially what they intend to achieve over a period of time, but praised IBEX for working with many businesses to ensure that some of those problems are solved or addressed for the development of businesses in Liberia.
The IBEX project, USAID/IBEX aims to provide technical support and capacity building for SMEs in the agriculture, renewable energy, infrastructure, construction, general merchandise, transportation and hospitality chain sectors, with the aim of increasing use of the DCA.
He said USAID/IBEX also provides technical support and capacity building for partner banks, IB Bank and EcoBank, to facilitate lending to SMEs and increase their use and management of the Development Credit Authority (DCA). The project consists of three numbers of components.
Mr. Flomo explained that the third component of the project, which is exit or sustainability strategy, is meant to provide a landscape or system that those services from the project will continue to carry out by business development service providers across Liberia. It will also ensure that activities like
mentorship, giving advice, providing opportunity to access finance and training of people can be carried out.
“We have had couple of workshops and meetings over the past four years with business development service providers and today happened to be the climax of such activities to be able to have a consortium of business development service providers in Liberia-to bring together all the players that are working in business development to set the standard,” he said.
He stressed the need for such experts to help in educating other Liberians, especially at the business level, where those intending to engage in business or are already in business can be educated on how to grow their businesses.