SMEs Showcase Products at USAID-LAVI Maiden Exhibition

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Business participants posed for group after the event

About 50 small and medium enterprise business organizations yesterday participated in a one-day USAID- Liberia Accountability and Voice Initiative (LAVI) sponsored professional service providers and stakeholders’ networking event at the Monrovia City Hall.
The exhibition showcased products from various services including education, business networking, health care and tourism.

The event was organized by Gusceman, Inc. a Liberian-owned entity that focuses on business development services. The workshop improved the skills, knowledge, and confidence of local business people, particularly those offering business services to Civil Society Organizations, government, private institutions or individuals.

Chief of Party of the Liberia Accountability and Voice Initiative (LAVI), Milica Panic, commended Gusceman, Inc for its support to the program as well as its continued collaboration in the rebuilding process, including having the faith in the country and sponsoring businesses for the exhibition.

She said the fair provided the opportunity for the LAVI service providers (SP) pool to showcase the work they have been doing.

Panic told the participants that the activity was aimed at demonstrating to the government, international organizations, donors, other CSOs and corporate entities the importance of developing local expertise to respond to the needs of CSOs in the country. “We hope this event will foster stronger linkages with the civil society and donor markets in Liberia as well as generate additional business opportunities and income for the Service Providers,” she said.
She indicated further that supporting Liberian businesses will help strengthen decision-making and ensure Liberians have a greater voice in how decisions will impact them, which is one of the main goals of LAVI.

She also told the entrepreneurs that the goal of the organization is to strengthen multi-stakeholder partnerships to advocate for and monitor accountability and policy reforms in Liberia, noting that LAVI wants to create a space, mechanisms, and opportunities with which all Liberian citizens are able to voice their concerns to their government.

She said to support each partner in addressing its self-identified needs; LAVI is promoting the development of ongoing capacity development services on the local market and recalled that LAVI launched the Service Provider Pool, a hub of thirteen Liberian small businesses and organizations available to provide organizational development services to civil society organizations, government, and private sector.

Ms. Emily Krunic, USAID Liberia Democracy, and Governance Director, said “Incorporating local Liberian businesses instead of hiring international consultancy services ensures that technical and organizational skills are incorporating in the context so that they have a greater understanding of the needs of those they serve and are able to provide customized support based on their knowledge.”

Augustus Flomo, the chief executive officer of Gusceman, Inc., said the workshop was not a normal kind of workshop “as you call it, where we will expect you to go and sit down and have a presentation and walk away.

“This is meant for us to be able to say to each other the services that we provide and how we can procure from you and how you can procure from me, so, we do relationship one side of the process which has to do with procuring of services depending on what you do, the other flip side of it is also building network.”

He told the participants that LAVI’s support towards the USAID initiative is to make sure that SP expands their networks, so there is going to be more networking and creating opportunities.

He promised the participants and organizers that they will continue to build the capacity of local business people and to help them generate more revenue for themselves.
“I am so much excited about this gathering because it will help improve your businesses,” he concluded.

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