Over 50 young and potential entrepreneurs will now access finance as start- up capital, to improve or expand their enterprises after winning a business plan competition funded by the UNDP Livelihood and Employment Creation Program.
The fifty-two (52) young and ambitious entrepreneurs, 52% of whom are women, will receive grants from US$ 500 up to US$3,000 each to either grow their business, launch a new business, or pursue innovations that allow them to scale up their businesses in order to attract customers and fully commercialize their products.
The enterprises operate in various sectors of the economy including agriculture and fishery, soap production, catering, ICT, waste management, fashion, as well as other untapped market niches including smoothies’ production, toiletries, packaging, and engineering.
Last year, UNDP ran a business plan competition in partnership with the Ministry of Commerce (MOCI), which was implemented by the Business Startup Center (BSC). The competition closed in December 2021, when a panel of five top-notch business executives critiqued the business plans of seventy-four shortlisted applicants at a pitch event in Monrovia
The business-pitching event was a culmination of a rigorous and competitive process that covered the stages of application, shortlisting, evaluation, training and pitching from among 300 applicants from seven counties - Lofa, Nimba, Sinoe, Grand Gedeh, Grand Bassa, Grand Cape Mount and Montserrado.
The participating businesses received training in business planning, financial planning, marketing, customer service, expanding ideas for success based on market opportunities, sales forecasting, customer service, and finance.
The UNDP Livelihood and Employment Creation project supports income-generation opportunities especially for the poor and vulnerable, which include the youth, women, and people with disabilities, among others.