A two-day international strategy summit for young entrepreneurs from the Minor River Union (MRU) region ended in Monrovia on Thursday, January 17, 2019.
The summit brought together young entrepreneurs from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone so as to discuss major challenges that affect young entrepreneurs in finding solutions to the problems in the three countries. The two-day event, which started from January 15-17, 2019, brought together more than 80 participants from MRU countries.
At the official opening of the summit, the founder and executive director of Passion Link Liberia, Lincoln Saah Kpoto, informed participants that it was important to discuss major challenges that affect many young entrepreneurs.
Kpoto said over the years, many young entrepreneurs from the MRU basin find it difficult, if not impossible, to succeed, “because they were not able to identify these challenges.”
He named some of the challenges as the lack of startup capital and mentorship teams. According to Kpoto, if entrepreneurs identify these challenges and work on them, they will become some of the best entrepreneurs in the sub-region.
He noted that the only way to address these problems is to work as a team, thereby sharing ideas that will develop into action and that will improve the lives of young entrepreneurs across the MRU.
“If we craft good ideas as young entrepreneurs, our challenges will be minimized, so we must be resilient to reach to the top,” Kpoto said.
The summit, which discussed major challenges of entrepreneurs, also pointed out issues of individual influence as one of their difficulties.
He said the summit has further identified some opportunities for young people that are innovative. Kpoto believes that young people can make use of the internet as one of the easiest ways to get a startup capital.
He then challenged the participants to take advantage of the internet, “because many times people use the internet for political reasons, but innovative entrepreneurs will use it for business purposes.”
Mr. Kpoto emphasized that the use of the internet will market their ideas, and those ideas will be placed into action for a successful startup capital. “The internet has a major role to play when it comes to startup capital,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kpoto said the organization has plans for young entrepreneurs to travel to South Africa for more training.
“I am pleased to inform you that based on our negotiation with other stakeholders, at least three of our members are expected to form part of the training, which is expected to be held in South Africa in May this year,” he said.
The summit was organized by Passion Link Liberia, with support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
Passion Link Liberia is an initiative that focuses on creating and exposing a platform for opportunities to less fortunate Liberians, most especially those in the rural areas. The initiatives have seen quick impact projects that also involve young Liberian entrepreneurs.
Rita Jlogbe, a participant, described the summit as cardinal to the growth and development of young entrepreneurs in the MRU region. “As emerging entrepreneurs,” she said, “we need the necessary training and mentorship that will enable us move ahead.”
She lauded Passion Link Liberia and the UNDP for their support.
“I hope this summit should continue, because it has given most of us the insight of what affects most entrepreneurs,” Rita said.