‘Entrepreneurship Essential to Liberia’s Growth, Development’

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Mr. Cummings delivers the keynote address at the opening of the Liberia Entrepreneurship Summit 2019.

-Cummings tells Liberian entrepreneurs

Alexander B. Cummings, a businessman, politician and philanthropist, says entrepreneurship is essential to Liberia’s growth and development.

Mr. Cummings made the remarks on Thursday, November 14 during the opening of a 2-day Liberia Entrepreneurship Summit 2019, which is organized by the Cummings Africa Foundation at the Millennium Guest House in Monrovia.

“It should be our goal to ensure that the private sector is the biggest employer in Liberia. Entrepreneurship has to be one of the primary vehicles. In every developed country or market, the private sector is the biggest employer and it should be our goal as a country to ensure that the private sector plays its rightful role,” Mr. Cummings said.

Mr. Cummings said the summit is also intended to facilitate or assist entrepreneurs to grow through the provision of knowledge and grants. According to him, this is key to the future prospects of Liberia and the private sector can be the biggest employer of people and the highest generator of wealth for Liberians.

The event, held under the theme: “Entrepreneurship Redefined: Taking Liberian Businesses to the Next Level” ,brought together some leading Liberian entrepreneurs as presenters, panelists and facilitators.

According to the organizers, the goal of the summit is to equip Liberian businesses with knowledge. They include Barkue Tubman, CEO of MBL International Group; Eyvonne Bright-Harding, CEO of Sharks Entertainment; William R. Dennis, executive director/CEO of Business Start-Up Center; Amin Modad, CEO of MI Group; Jeanine Cooper, founder & Senior partner Fabrar Liberia and others.

Mr. Cummings said getting the right people for partnership also helps to grow the business, indicating that “having inter-personal as well as social media skills is essential in the development of growing one’s business.

He said, “we want you to think about agriculture, especially how you can add value.” Mr. Cummings said Cummings Africa Foundation is committed to entrepreneurship and job creation.

He told business people that banking institutions globally are not designed to help entrepreneurs to grow. Mr. Cummings said “We can use agriculture to grow. Ghana, Ivory Coast, and other countries are successful because they are agro-based economies. If you want things to change, you have to do things differently.”

“Things you believe will also help you to find partners who have different skills. Self-awareness and assessment is cardinal in life, especially in business and entrepreneurship. It’s good to act quickly and decidedly to opportunities as they come. Also be self-disciplined, especially how you spend your time,” Mr. Cummings said.

“Capitalism in the 21st Century cannot be measured by your personal wellbeing or wealth but by what you do for others, and how you help others create wealth for themselves. I know many of your businesses are small today, but the goal is to make your businesses larger. You can unapologetically be successful, but you can also give back to society,” Mr. Cummings said.

“Firstly, I want you to know yourself and who you are as well as what you are good at and what you are not good at. Know your weaknesses and the things you have a passion for as entrepreneurs. Liberia needs to find a program to help petty traders,” Mr. Cummings said.

Some of the entrepreneurs in audience at the Liberia Entrepreneurship Summit 2019.

According to Mr. Cummings, the foundation, through a competition, is expected to financially empower two entrepreneurs who will receive US$10,000 for the first winner and US$5,000 for the second winner. The prizes, he said, are intended to help the winners to grow and expand their businesses.

With this, Mr. Cummings said, “about 100 businesses applied and today, Thursday, November 14, two entrepreneurs from the last five entrepreneurs will win US$10,000 and US$5,000, respectively. The five will present their business ideas and two will emerge as winners.”

Meanwhile, commenting on Liberia’s national budget, Mr. Cummings said it’s important for Liberians, especially the government, to think big and look beyond the current constraints to augment the country’s budget.

“We have lots of things to do in order to increase Liberia’s budget to US$2 billion. We have to create the necessary environment for businesses to grow, firstly because when they are successful, then they will pay more taxes, hire more people. The people hired will have a consuming power and gradually lead to paying more taxes to government, Mr. Cummings said.”

According to Mr. Cummings, Liberia needs to take advantage of natural resources and also invest into agriculture, which will bring lots of changes to Liberia.

Dr. Wede Brownell who spoke on behalf of Cummings Africa Foundation, said the sharing of ideas is cardinal to improving the entrepreneurship climate in Liberia.

“The experiences shared will help to transform the economy and Liberia in general. We hope that all Liberian businesses participating in the summit will gain the relevant knowledge to prospect,” she said.

According to Cummings, the summit will now take place every year to enable entrepreneurs across the country to benefit from the Cummings Africa Foundation and the Cummings’ family.

13 COMMENTS

  1. So simple to understand my people. Thank God for giving us Cummings, after Tolbert. I pray that man lead my beloved country to great fame!
    Your Excellency President Weah, please enter Cummings’ class to do something little for Liberia. I know everything he has said appears to be impossible for you, but very simple to do. Don’t listen to Hney. He is fooling you all the time on this medium, pretending to like you. He mocks you sarcastically.
    Stop thinking about cutting salaries, increase the budget to $2 billion. Make the country business friendly. The rest will be added unto Liberia Sir. DO NOT WASTE the 6 precious years Liberians have given you, please!
    He talked about Ivory Coast and Ghana, very important. These 2 countries have solid economies. How did they get there? Through education, agriculture and transformation.

    Revamp, ehmmmmmm, the educational system. Here I know it will be like climbing Mount Kilimanjaro on foot for you.
    Build roads to link Lofa to Gbarnga, Ganta to the southeastern regions, Ganta to Yekepa, Ganta to the Ivorian border.
    Let there be stable electricity supply in every county in Liberia.
    The rest will be done by us, the people.
    Stop playing ludu and jumping around childishly among your supporters. You are encouraging them to be lazy. That time is precious for the country.

  2. Ladies and gentlemen of Liberia and elsewhere:

    If possible, I would like for some of you to tell Mr. Petarus Dolo that Cummings’ economic message for Liberia is positive. But tell Dolo also that Cummings’ economic message is not new. The fact is that most knowledgeable Liberians know exactly what Liberia needs. In other words, Cummings’ economic message of November 14, 2013 was repetitive and jarring.

    Ladies and gentlemen:
    When Taylor ran for the Liberian presidency, he had no viable competitor in the race. Why did that happen? Because most Liberians were afraid to challenge a guy who had terrorized the Liberian people for 14 years. Additionally, Taylor was anointed or pre-ordained prematurely by the tramautized Liberians without being properly vetted. The mistake of not vetting Taylor was ignoble. As a consequence of that mistake, Taylor’s presidency plunged Liberia in a dirty ditch politically and economically.

    Ladies and gentlemen:
    When Ellen Johnson Sirleaf ran for the Liberian presidency, a similar mistake of not being able to vet Johnson-Sirleaf was made. Many Liberians were pressured to believe that because of her national and international experience, Johnson-Sirleaf would be the ideal person to lead Liberia out its mess. Johnson-Sirleaf’s worldwide popularity (as Dolo and his associates are telling us about Cummings) enabled reputable international donor institutions to pour billions of US dollars in Liberia for internal development. No doubt and drama, EJS’s star became the brightest. What wasn’t known about her despite her experience, was that she didn’t have a leadership experience. Sadly, we were misled!

    Ladies and gentlemen:
    Most people including Petarus Dolo, despise George Weah, the present president of Liberia. What should be mentioned is that Mr. Weah’s popularity in terms of playing soccer and using his own money to finance the National Lone Star team gave him a boost. He was elected. He’s the president. Let him serve out his term. He may run again. If he wins re-election, he’ll be our president!

    Ladies and gentlemen:
    Given what has happened to us so far, is it inappropriate or unscrupulous for me to warn all Liberians to be careful when we or they choose a president next time? Educated Liberians who wish to run for the presidency, will step forward, I hope before 2023. Those who step forward must be properly scrutinized. Now, we hear that Cummings worked for Coco-Cola. Cummings is millionaire. Cummings will employ 100,000 Liberians within three months. Some of what we hear about Cummings is good news. But some things are fake! So, the best thing that should be done is for Cummings and all 2023 presidential candidates to be properly observed, studied and questioned. The message of his perfection as we’re being led to believe is not sufficient. Let’s not be stupid. A speech is a silly thing to rely on in terms of choosing a president. Let’s investigate all candidates!!!!!

    There’s a tendency for Weah to be blamed for everything that’s happening in Liberia. Weah is not a saint by any stretch! But, it’s highly unfair to blame him for bad roads, for poor electricity problems, overcrowded schools, the payment of high salaries to the “higher ups”, high inflation, etc. There’s a lot to be done. But it cannot get done overnight.

    Finally, ladies and gentlemen:
    Every time Dolo presents his state of the union economic development plan, the plan centers on Ganta, Nimba county. I am familiar with his writing. Dolo tells us that roads must be built from Ganta to the Southeast and everywhere else in Liberia. Just read his book above. That’s not the very first time he’s done that. So, the question is why does Dolo do it?
    Simple answer: Dolo is a Nimbaian. His policies and those of his beloved Cummings will “amount” to business as usual. Be careful Liberia.

    • Dear Internauts,

      You see Hney is going on regional or tribal line again?
      Why didn’t you mention Lofa to Gbarnga?

      DOLO Petarus supports vetting our presidential candidates. In fact, it was from there I chose Cummings. I believe that’s the best way out for Liberia. Bring out other people for us to vet. We want to see them. My choice is not an absolute one. If someone can come up with better ideas and morally clean like Cummings, I may support that person.

      I have never spoken in praise for Taylor or Ellen. I respect these past presidents, but they were never my choice for Liberia. It was strange when most of my friends found out that I was from Nimba and not supporting Taylor. Members of my extend family worked with both Taylor and Ellen but could not understand my opposition to those administrations.

      Go to the points I made Hney. Internauts are following everything you and I are saying. They will make up their opinion, don’t draw their attention to what has not been said. Weah has a 6-year mandate. It will go to the end peacefully. I am campaigning for 2023. We want to get the job done properly.

  3. Dolo,
    In a different post, you sternly warned Costa to behave himself when he returns to Liberia. That’s a positive statement. That’s the kind of person I expect you to be.

    • Dear Hney,

      Please read my post again. In no way the expression “Ehmmmmmmmmmmm” was referring to you. Please read it again.

      However, I know you wouldn’t like to continue debating with me because I have pinpointed a lot of inconsistencies in what you preach and what you do.
      I have made the internauts on this medium to know that the love you claim to have for Liberia is cynical.
      I have made the internauts on this medium to know that the commits you make are only intended to mislead or even envenomate the porous situations in Liberia.
      I have made the internauts on this medium to know that not all those who pay lip service in saying “I love Liberia” truly love Liberia. Remember those say Jesus Jesus in every corner and those who really do His will.

      Thanks for exchanging with me anyway. It was a pleasure meeting you online Hney. I hope we can one day meet to put faces to the names.
      By the way, I hope you have not told your brother who teaches at the police academy to arrest me when I get to Liberia to run campaign for Cummings, since you have threatened me twice? Lol!. Just kidding.

      Bye bye oldman

  4. “There is no present or future – only the past, happening over and over again – Now” Eugene O’Neill

    So, what is playing now is nothing strange, or should be nothing strange to us, as a people. From Tubman to Sirleaf, each president has made mistakes and each, in his/her own way, contributed to the quagmire we find ourselves in today.

    I am sure that each of us has learned from our mistakes and it now behooves us to move forward in a positive way. Doe’s mistake was he was too tribalistic, in my opinion. Taylor’s mistake was that he thought that he was smarter than everyone, and Ellen’s mistake was one of arrogance. Weah is making the mistake of not realizing that the “buck stops at his desk” meaning that he will be held accountable for everything that happens in his government.

    So, we will just have to hope that the Weah government will do something right for the country. Like a project be tackled and completed. I know for a fact that electricity, road and water issued will not be accomplished all at once in this government. so , let them take one of these issues and complete it. It is a very tall order, but we can only hope.

    Tribalism is something that I dont even dwell on.

    The ordinary person dwells on words, We are easily swayed by what we are told by others especially when we are told big things.. Taylor, Ellen did that. Can we blame them? The played on the illiteracy of the Liberian people. This is why the Liberian man need to know the power of his vote and needs not be swayed about bi speeches and high class rhetorics.

    Thorough vetting of the candidates should be done, but as they say, “he who pays the piper calls the tune” and if Cummings and others can dish out money around as they are doing, they will call the tune.

    Peace

    • Joe, you see where Cummings is dishing is money?
      To at least a thousand Liberians. Giving money to entrepreneurs through merit is what we should forge. Promoting pigheaded people leads to rampant corruption, compulsive lying and governance without leadership

  5. Uncle Dolo,

    Dishing out money and being able to lead a country are two completely things, yes? If Cummings thinks that by dishing out his hard earned money is the way forward to winning the presidency, by all means, let him do so, but let him ask Mr. Urey first.

    Mr. Cummings has to bring his case to the Liberian people and let them be the judge. Let him go easy on the money dishing. The story is told of how Mr. Urey donated motorbikes to help run his campaign and vote for him. When he did not win, he went back to those folks to retrieve his motorbikes mo. Whether he did or not, is another story. If he loses, will he go back to retrieve his money? Me, I dont know him and his message did not just resonate with me and others, that is why he lost. In the upcoming elections,you need to tell your man to change his tactics if he wants to win.

    My ears open, Uncle Dolo

    Peace

    • Dear JM,

      Peace unto you this day, a day set aside to worship God Almighty.

      I used the word “dish” just to make you to understand the context but that’s not the right word for the situation.
      Let me underscore this point to you again: Cummings is not a politician; he will NEVER be a politician. He is a true patriot, a person who dearly loves Liberia. He is doing what the previous and present governments should have done after 14 years of fratricide, like in Rwanda.
      You once told me you need someone who will teach you how to fish and not give you fish to eat, that’s exactly the person Cummings is. You have been following me debating with people on this very medium. They preach what they cannot do, like your Uncle Hney. Cummings resigned his job as vice president of Cocoa Cola to come and help his people. He could have continued working like other Liberians abroad, build himself beautiful houses there and stay there for the rest of his life. His children would never have known Liberia. But out of love, he came down and is living the reality with us.
      He knows our educational system needs overhauling!
      He knows our roads are bad!
      He knows the country is in darkness!
      He knows Liberians are underpaid!
      He knows Liberians are dying from minor diseases that should not be killing them!
      He knows Liberians, once highly respected, are now despised among other Africans!
      He knows all the realities we are living.

      To come back to the point of dishing; No, he is not dishing his money. He is investing in human capital. Giving out US $10,000 and $5,000 respectively to the best and 2nd best entrepreneurs in Liberia is like distributing wealth directly and indirectly to at least one thousand Liberians. What does it mean Joe? It means that the money he gave to the entrepreneurs will be used to invest. Those entrepreneurs have people on their payroll with families. Those entrepreneurs have people or companies with families from whom they buy goods and services. In Economics, this is a practical definition of distribution of wealth.
      I will never stand on the line to go and get bag of rice from any politician. God forbid let hunger kill me.
      I will never go to any politician’s house for my weekend; “oh papay, we here for our week oh!”, God forbid, let me stay broke.
      JM, I am from a lineage with pride. I will always follow someone that uphold human dignity. European, American and Asian countries are moving forward because they uphold these basic human rights.

      If Liberians were educated enough to voting in the right people, Taylor, Ellen and Weah would NEVER have ruled the country. Cummings has nothing to lose if the Liberian people don’t vote him. Liberia has a lot to lose if Cummings is not elected.

      The example of Urey, please I will not commit because I know nothing about it. By the way, Urey had some points in his agenda, far better than most politicians I followed. He showed that he knew the Liberian people well and could somehow change situations. But he was not my man and in no way I could support him, though his ideas were bright.

      Cummings has no special tactics that need to change. He is a natural guy. He will never imitate or pretend to be some politicians. He is a philanthropic. He is helping as little as he can until the Liberian people can give him command over the entire resources of the country to change our lives for the better. You can deny him the leadership in the next election. If you do, he will NEVER run again. Take my word for it and have it engraved somewhere Joe. If the Liberian people don’t vote him next time, Cummings will NEVER run again. He will continue to contribute his quota in anyway possible until the end of his days.
      But remember this, Liberians will run after him to once again run, as we are regretting Tolbert to date.

      To conclude Joe, Cummings is not in a contest. He is here to help. Take his help or refuse it. He doesn’t need the Liberian people’s money to live. His children don’t need the Liberian people’s money either. He loves the people he belongs to.

      Have a nice Sunday.

  6. Dolo,
    One of the definitions of the word “revamp” means to modernize. In another sense, to revamp means to overhaul! To modernize or overhaul our public schools is precisely what I am calling for. What was that all about? Ehmmmmmm….. Do you think I improperly used the word revamp?

    I am done in terms of debating the issues of Liberia with you.

  7. Uncle Dolo.

    I admire your glib tongue. you are a born persuader of men, I already know. I admire the respect and trust you have for Mr. Cummings. I wish I was like you, to be able to trust and respect a Liberian politician like that.

    too often, my generation – those of us that was born in the 80s- have been fooled and taken for a ride by the very politicians . we still sruggling to make meets, majority of us don’t have a formal education, we live on less than five united states dollars a week and here comes the like of cummings and others to preach the same old story to us. what do u expect us to do, embrace them with open arms? We are wary right now of the Cummings.

    but the goo news is that, I, like most of my colleagues, have an open mind and am willing to listen, but to the right message.

    So, our ears are open, Uncle Dolo.

    Peace

    • Good morning Joe,

      There is nothing insincere about what I am telling you. I may sound fluent and persuasive but very sincere.

      If you knew me in nature, you would be surprised to see me active on this forum for a person vying for political position in my country Liberia. I am a very easy going and shy guy. I do not like to be noticed so much in public. Very soon, you will see me physically and see how reserved I am. But if you see me so active about a person on this medium, it means I am convinced about that person.

      I understand you were born in the 80’s. It means you have not known a real peaceful and joyous Liberia. Our era has been mired by violence and untold suffering. We need to change it and your vote counts.
      Let’s together say NO to hypocrisy;
      Let’s together say NO to mediocrity and promote excellence;
      Let’s together say NO to violence for our children to grow up in a peaceful and prosperous Liberia;
      Let’s together say NO to selfishness and greed over common interests;
      Let’s together say NO to expropriation and rampant corruption;
      Let’s together say NO to the retention of the country’s wealth for a privileged few and promote equal distribution of what was endowed to Liberia by the Almighty;
      Let’s together say NO to tribalism and nepotism;

      There is one man who can start a new day for Liberia.
      With Cummings, Liberia will rise again;
      With Cummings, Liberians will once again be respected;
      With Cummings, excellence will be promoted over mediocrity;
      With Cummings, great prosperity will abound in Liberia;
      With Cummings, the children of Liberia will never face death in the Saharan deserts and the Mediterranean;
      With Cummings, life will once again have meaning for Liberians in Liberia, and not abroad;
      With Cummings, you will realize that we are not many for the jobs to be created directly and indirectly.

      Take heart! Reach out to your colleagues. Try to withstand the rest of the period President Weah will be at the helm of affairs and pray for a peaceful transition. You will forget those bitter days because you are going to be busy not knowing which job to decide on.
      Take heart! There is light at the end of the tunnel.

      Have a nice day buddy!

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