UNDP Commits to Support Growth Accelerator Liberia Semifinalists

Some of the 10 semifinalists in the Growth Accelerator Liberia program  

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has re-emphasized its commitment to support the Growth Accelerator Liberia program, which has been launched to aid long term recovery efforts and support measures that reduce socio-economic impacts on the vulnerable and contribute to economic development.

E. Abraham Tumbey, UNDP Liberia Coordinator for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development, who spoke virtually on behalf of his boss, Mr. Stephen Rodriques, urged the semifinalists to use the platform to highlight a value chain that would provide job creation, employment opportunities for youth and women.Tumbey made the remark on Wednesday, November 10, at the opening of the second training of ten business semifinalists from across five counties that are undergoing a series of entrepreneurship strategies, in preparation for a pitching competition, from which the final five will each receive the amount of US$40,000 for business expansion.

Growth Accelerator Liberia’s pitching competition and selection of the five finalists will take place on Dec. 7 at the ministerial complex in Congo Town.

It is organized by Growth Accelerator Liberia, with support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, with implementation by iCampus Liberia, in collaboration with Growth Africa Kenya and other local institutions, including Accountability Lab, as well as the Business Start-up Centre Monrovia and Top Consulting, Inc.Topics include value architecture, financial architecture, revenue streams and drivers, unit cost and margin as well as an audit brain trust, etc.

The UNDP Liberia Coordinator for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development said that UNDP has a long time commitment to supporting Liberia’s MSMEs and look forward to working with them even after the closure of the cohort.

He said: “I’m emphasizing this because it is important for you to recalibrate decisions regarding supply and production to be informed [through] detailed understanding about your products.”

Tumbey also challenged the semifinalists to see the training as a unique opportunity to explore expert advice and knowledge required to make the right decision for practice and winnable strategies.

“I’m urging you to see all of the guidance in developing and enhancing skills as well as leadership to grow your businesses. This is an opportunity for you to access relevant and practical systems through processes that can support you in scaling up your venture,” he added.

This, he said, the semi-finalists should use the Growth Accelerator program to build up a strong network, identifying, and engaging with stakeholders, especially potential business partners and clients.

Tumbey further called on the semifinalists to see the Growth Accelerator program as a platform that will facilitate them to have access, support and dialogue with potential business investors.

He also used the occasion to convey thanks to the business development specialists, including Growth Africa, iCampus, BSC Monrovia and other institutions that contributed to this initiative.

For his part, Luther D. Jeke, Chief Executive Officer of iCampus Liberia, who provided the overview of the program, told the participants that the initiative is actually aimed at supporting impactful Liberian ventures that are looking to scale up and grow their businesses.

He said the program is actually meant to create capacity building for Liberian businesses to ensure they can get the needed skills to manage their own businesses and get access to finance.

Jeke said: “So basically, the program provides three key things to these businesses — UNDP is looking at how the economy is struggling as well as how young Liberian businesses are also struggling and thought of how they can support in terms of funding Liberian businesses that will create an adverse effect positively to be able to put food on the tables of families and support the growth and development of Liberia.”

He said that the program also provides mentorship, technical assistance and access to grant finance to these businesses.

The iCampus chief executive officer disclosed that the ten semi-finalists are businesses from Montserrado, Grand Cape Mount, Grand Bassa, Lofa, Nimba and Sinoe and are mainly into agriculture, sanitation and community empowerment initiatives.

Earlier in a remark, Accountability Lab Country Director, Lawrence Yealue, II, lauded Growth Africa for being there and helping to lead the initiative. Yealue also acknowledged the government of Liberia through the Ministry of Commerce for their commitment to support Liberian entrepreneurs.

Meanwhile, the semifinalists 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.