-say 10 Liberians poised to benefit from cash, and mentorship
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has partnered with iCampus Liberia, Growth Africa, and Accountability Lab Liberia to support impactful Liberian entrepreneurs to scale up their ventures through access to technical assistance, mentorship, and co-financing.
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic as well as poverty and inequality prevalent Growth Accelerator Liberia has been established to aid long-term recovery efforts and support measures that reduce social-economic impacts on the vulnerable and contribute to economic development. This initiative kickoff on August 31, 2021, with the launch of the initiative and the application process for interested entrepreneurs and the application process, will end September 10th, 2021, thereby ending the first phase of the Growth Accelerator Liberia.
This Growth Accelerator Liberia is inviting Liberian businesses, but especially entrepreneurs in Grand Gedeh, Grand Cape Mount, Lofa, Montserrado, Grand Bassa, Nimba, and Sinoe counties to apply and ten businesses will win cash, mentorship, and technical assistance from UNDP. The Accelerator is being set up to support growth stage and established businesses that are viable, effective, and impactful, particularly in accelerating economic growth and activity amid Covid-19 recovery efforts.
UNDP’s Liberia Assistant Country Representative and Team Leader Dorsla D. Farcarthy, said this new initiative will look for ventures with both innovative solutions and transformative business models, services, and products that are post-revenue. “We are happy to be part of anything that will improve the lives of our people. UNDP is elated to initiate this program across Liberia, the bread and butter issue is cardinal. It’s core at the hearts of the Liberian people,” Mr. Farcarthy said.
Growth Africa and Accountability Lab Liberia's strong track record of working to alleviate hardship and strengthen organizations and individuals shows much promise. Liberia is ranked 176th out of 189 countries on the UNDP 2019 human development index. The country faces stark challenges with more than 50% of the population living in poverty.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of iCampus Liberia, Luther Jeke, said the Accelerator program will enable selected businesses a mix of mentorship, technical assistance and financial incentives to enable them to grow and make them sustainable. “For instance, Covid-19 has starkly highlighted how having access to digital assets and connectivity as well as a bank account, and digital ID is key in the increasingly integrated global economy. The growth accelerator is a proven model that works,” Mr. Jeke said.
Mr. Jeke said Accountability Lab has helmed similar programs that continue to be impactful, stating “UNDP has launched accelerators in several countries to help enterprises to scale.” He said the partnership among Accountability Lab, iCampus, and UNDP seeks to build up innovative solutions and business models to address the poverty and inequality in Liberia, especially amidst the Covid-19 crisis.
Accountability Lab Liberia Country Director Lawrence Yealue said Liberia’s first multi-disciplinary, innovation and community space for change-maker focusing on the intersection of technology, accountability, and social change. “Our 4,000 square foot campus in the heart of Monrovia provides the space, resources, support, and cutting-edge technology that can make change possible in Liberia,” Mr. Yealue said.
Mr. Yealue said the Accountability Lab is always looking out to see opportunities for young people and to be able to work with them, especially promoting accountability.
“As we go forward, I know our support to entrepreneurs will be not just to enlarge their businesses but to do business in line with best business practices that enhance credibility and integrity. This is strengthening businesses and collaborating for the growth of Liberian businesses,” Mr. Yealue said.