Growth Accelerator Semifinalists Prep for US$40K Pitching Prize
Ten business semifinalists from across five counties in Liberia are being trained in a series of entrepreneurship strategies, in preparation for a pitching competition, from which the final five will each receive US$40,000 for business expansion.
Growth Acceleration Liberia, the pitching competition will take place on December 16, 2021.
The training is being implemented by iCampus Liberia, in collaboration with Growth Africa Kenya and other local institutions including Accountability Lab as well as the Business Start-up Centre Monrovia and Top Consulting, Inc.
Organized by Growth Accelerator Liberia, with support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Commerce and Industry the training is for three days, October 13- 15. Featured topics include customer needs, journey, purpose to product path, product and attributes as well as customer characteristics, among others.
The finalists include Kodah Enterprises (Poultry), LIBRA Sanitation, Evergreen Enterprise, and Trading Inc. The Lunch Box, Modern Agro Corporation, Youmtornor Enterprise, and Developmental Services Inc. Ma-Bandu Steel Mill, Nimba Venture Inc. Redimere Chocolate and Wungko’s Farm.
Luther D. Jeke, chief executive officer of iCampus Liberia, who provided the overview of the program, told the participants that the initiative is actually aimed at supporting impactful Liberian ventures that are looking to scale up and grow their businesses.
He reiterated that the program is meant to really create the capacity of Liberian businesses so that they can get the needed skills to manage their businesses and get access to finance to expand.
“So basically, the program provides three key things to these businesses—UNDP is looking at how the economy is struggling as well as how young Liberian businesses are also struggling and thought of how they can support in terms of funding Liberian businesses that will create an adverse effect positively to be able to put food on the tables of families and support the growth and development of Liberia,” Mr. Jeke said.
He further said that the program also provides mentorship, technical assistance and access to grant finance to these businesses.
According to him, the 10 semifinalists are businesses from across five counties including Montserrado, Grand Cape Mount, Grand Bassa, Lofa, Nimba and Sinoe and are mainly into agriculture, sanitation and community empowerment initiatives.
Also speaking, Accountability Lab Country Director, Lawrence Yealue, II, lauded Growth Africa for being there and helping to lead the initiative.
Mr. Yealue also used the occasion to acknowledge the government of Liberia through the Ministry of Commerce for their commitment to support Liberian entrepreneurs.
To foster this, he told the participants to take the training very seriously and build synergy (collaboration).
E. Abraham Tumbey, Jr., Livelihood Program Coordinator at UNDP Liberia, who spoke on behalf of his Country Representative, emphasized the importance of the program, which is very cardinal to the livelihood of Liberians.
This program, according to him, is one of their flagship initiatives under the livelihood and employment project of UNDP.
He said UNDP Liberia believes that the program can make a very significant impact on the livelihood and employment as well as job creation for Liberians.
“When businesses grow, communities grow; when communities grow poverty is reduced,” Tumbey added.
For his part, Julius Saye Keh-nel, Consultant on Small and Medium Enterprises and Agribusiness at the Ministry of Commerce, lauded the organizers of the Growth Accelerator program in buttressing the efforts of the government by empowering Liberians to take ownership of their economy.
He admonished the beneficiaries to take advantage of the training because there are a lot of opportunities that Liberians can make use of.
He urged the participants that they should not see the Growth Accelerator program as their limit but should further seek more opportunities that will grow their businesses and empower others in the country.
Meanwhile, the ten semifinalists promised that the knowledge acquired from the training will be used wisely to promote their individual businesses.
The training is being facilitated by Mr. William R. Dennis, II of Business Startup Centre Monrovia, Mr. Wilson Idahor of Top Consulting Inc. and is expected to be climaxed on Friday, October 15, 2021.