-President/CEO of Groupe Ndoum announces US$20 for Liberia next month
The president and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Groupe Ndoum (GN), Dr. Papa Kwesi Ndoum says any country that promotes entrepreneurship is prepared to grow, noting that “every country needs entrepreneurial attitude for total change or development.”
Dr. Ndoum spoke at a one-day seminar organized by Groupe Ndoum, the owner of the Liberian Enterprise Development Finance Company (LEDFC) Kendeja Resort & Villas, OK FM and GN Bank.
“The big companies are necessary, but it’s the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) that makes society more active. However, we want responsible SME citizens and committed to pay their taxes. This is very important for any country,” Dr. Ndoum said.
The seminar, among other things, aims to encourage customers to be open to discuss with their lenders about challenges facing their businesses.
Dr. Ndoum said Liberia needs people who will take the chance to invest in order to make things to happen, stating “there will be challenges but it’s important to prepare for it as investors/entrepreneurs.”
Dr. Ndoum said because of the good work done by LEDFC in Liberia, they have signed on an agreement for an additional US$20 million dollars to come in Liberia. He called on entrepreneurs to remain committed in paying their loans, adding, “this money will arrive next month.”
He said: “it is important to note that entrepreneurship isn’t really about acquiring business skills such as spreadsheet and marketing plans, instead, entrepreneurship is the way someone thinks.”
According to Dr. Ndoum, Groupe Ndoum believes in building a culture that continually strives to go beyond excellence in work and in relationships with clients and the society at large as well as share success with employees, community and shareholders.
Yesterday’s seminar under the theme: “Small and Medium Enterprises Entrepreneurship, Challenges, and the Way Forward” brought together representatives from GN’s various companies, customers and government officials as well as partners. The event was held at the RLJ Kendeja Resort & Villas in Paynesville.
Groupe Ndoum is the mother company of GN-Bank-Liberia, LEDFC, RLJ Kendeja Resort & Villas and OK FM 99.5, a media institution. Groupe Ndoum is a Multi-National company with companies in Ghana, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, United Kingdom and the United States.
Dr. Ndoum said “failure is not the alternative to success. It’s something to be avoided, but it’s also only a temporary setback on a bigger, more significant course. Everybody encounters failure at one point or another. What truly matters is how you react to and learn from that failure.”
Sara Walter, USAID/Liberia Mission Director said she was delighted to join others on what can be done together to unlock the full potential of Liberia’s Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) so that they remain key drivers of economic growth.
Madam Walter said “the available data tell us in clear and unambiguous terms that we are simply wrong to do so. Major corporations have been and always will be an important feature of the Liberian economic landscape. But they produce little to no spill-over effects. They are highly capital intensive and do not create the numbers or kinds of jobs we need to spur broad-based, inclusive growth.
She said the available data tell a different story when it comes to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). SMEs account for 80 percent of economic activity in Liberia and create employment for 90 percent of the workforce.
“And we know the people who struggle daily to operate these jobs-creating SMEs in the face of tremendous odds. They are the fishermen, who row out to sea every morning in their canoes from West Point, Robertsport, and Marshall to bring home the Grouper, Snapper, and Cassava Fish that fill our plates,” Madam Walter said.
She said “they are charcoal producers who use nothing but cutlasses and their bare hands to fell the tress and make the earthen kilns to produce the fuel that cook our food. They are the palm oil producers whose backbreaking labor provides the palm oil that goes into almost everything we eat.”
Madam Walter continued: “They are the market women who at the crack of dawn make their way in keh-kehs and on pehn-pehns to Red Light and bring to central Monrovia the rice, bitter balls, okra, cassava leaf and potato greens that fill the local markets. They are the men and women who own and operate the cook shops, barber shops, and beauty saloons that we all frequent.”
Madam Walter referred to these small businesses as “true risk takers”. According to her, “They are at the heart of the Liberian economy. They are trail-blazing entrepreneurs. They have the potential to become genuine wealth creators. But despite their vast potential and contributions to the Liberian economy, SMEs in Liberia, like SMEs all over the world, confront challenges that stymie their ability to be drivers of economic growth.”
Ambrose G. Houphouet, chief executive officer/country coordinator of LEDFC, said Liberia is experiencing her fair share of challenges that have confronted the global economy.
“This has led to economic slowdown and affected several businesses, mainly the SMEs, some of whom are represented here. The objective of the seminar is to firstly re-orient business owners to understand that the environment has changed and these changes demand changes in their way of thinking and approach of doing business; to encourage our customers and potential customers to be open and discuss with their lenders the challenges facing their businesses. Also, to encourage our customers and potential customers to explore innovative way of doing business through competitive pricing, product development and customer service and to create the platform for business owners and key stakeholders to collaborate, network and build synergies for development,” Mr. Houphouet said.