‘Take Ownership of this Business Empowerment Program’

Business participants and officials of iCampus Liberia, the Business StartUp Center-Monrovia, and UNDP at the end of the Growth Accelerator program in Buchanan.  

-- Says UNDP Deputy Country Representative

Deputy UNDP Country Representative to Liberia, Violet Baffour has urged participants, especially those that were selected for the Growth Accelerator Liberia Business program, to take advantage of the program to make an impact on the country.

Madam Baffour told the participants that UNDP believes in what will drive and deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and, as such, they must do whatever it takes to grow their businesses and make an impact.

“This is your space, not a UNDP space or any other.  Therefore, take it as your own. Grow it for the purpose of creating jobs for other Liberians and change the lives of others. Grow for your customers, especially for Liberia because when you grow it, that means you will employ other people who will impact others’ lives,” she said.

Madam Baffour made these remarks on Thursday, September 30 in Buchannan, Grand Bassa County at a program making the official launch of Growth Accelerator Liberia Bootcamp in partnership with iCampus Liberia and the Business StartUp Center-Monrovia. This follows a hectic application process and a competitive vetting system where ten (10) semifinalists of the program were selected.

The event was graced by representatives from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) as well as international partners, among others. 

The Growth Accelerator Program was set up to support the growth stage and established businesses that are viable, effective and impactful, particularly in accelerating economic growth and activity amid COVID19 recovery efforts. 

According to her, she wants participating businesses to deliver for impact, something she said means a lot for social change and will ensure the improvement of more lives in the country through job empowerment. 

Earlier, Luther Jeke, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of iCampus Liberia, provided an overview of the program and said the Accelerator program was set up to enable selected businesses a mix of mentorship, technical assistance and financial incentives to enable them to grow and make them sustainable.

“For instance, Covid-19 has starkly highlighted how having access to digital assets and connectivity as well as a bank account, and digital ID are key in the increasingly integrated global economy. The growth accelerator is a proven model that works,” Jeke said. 

He said the process went for ten (10) days and the applicants were involved with online and hard copy application forms, with about 167 applications received from businesses in nine Counties in Liberia as the project was only targeting seven (7) Counties.

According to him, the primary Counties include; Grand Gedeh, Grand Cape Mount, Lofa, Montserrado, Grand Bassa, Nimba, and Sinoe counties. 

Jeke disclosed the selected businesses include Kodah Enterprises (Poultry), LIBRA Sanitation, Evergreen Enterprise, and Trading Inc. The Lunch Box, Modern Agro Corporation, Youmtornor Enterprise, and Developmental Services Inc. Ma-Bandu Steel Mill, Nimba Venture Inc. Redimere Chocolate and Wungko’s Farm. 

He indicated that an Independent Investment Committee, comprising representatives from Liberia Chamber of Commerce, Liberia Business Association, Central Bank of Liberia, and Ministry of Commerce and Industry, vetted and selected the ten businesses. 

Meanwhile, the selected business participants lauded officials from iCampus Liberia, the Business StartUp Center-Monrovia, and UNDP for their support. They vowed to make use of the knowledge provided to take their various individual businesses to another level.