Five Liberian businesses have won grants up to US40, 000 dollars each to improve their businesses after pitching their business models before a competent panel of jurors as part of activities of Liberia’s Growth Accelerator Programme.
The programme is an initiative aimed at supporting impactful entrepreneurs to scale up their enterprises through access to technical assistance, mentorship, training and co-financing.
iCampus Liberia organized the program in partnership with Accountability Lab Liberia, BSC-Monrovia and Growth Africa with support and funding from the Ministry of Commerce & Industry and UNDP Liberia.
On 7 December 2021, the five businesses were selected from a group of ten semi-finalists shortlisted to pitch their business proposal plans in front of a high-power judging panel as part of the program’s last stage.
The six member high-level judging panel comprising senior experts, including the Minister of Agriculture, seasoned bankers and entrepreneurs, used business asset model, profitability and socio-economic impact as set criteria for the evaluation.
The ten semi-finalists were shortlisted from among more than 167 applications from nine counties- Grand Gedeh, Grand Cape Mount, Lofa, Montserrado, Grand Bassa, Nimba and Sinoe Counties.
Over the last six months, the 10 semi-finalists have participated in a series of business development workshops, boot camps and training.
The five winners are LIBRA Sanitation, Wungko’s farm, Nimba Ventures, Redimere chocolate and Lunch Box.
Making remarks at the end of the event, the Minister of Agriculture Jeanie Cooper expressed the government of Liberia’s appreciation to UNDP and its partners for investing in local businesses.
Madam Cooper said the stark reality of the Covid-19 pandemic has made it increasingly important to support potential Liberian owned businesses scale up to become sustainable and integrated in the global economy.
She urged the winners to use the grants and the knowledge acquire to improve their business profiles, increase profits and become competitors in the sub-region.
At the same time, UNDP Liberia Deputy Resident Representative Violet Baffour encouraged the winners to use the grant to spur Liberia’s economic growth and development and serve as mentors for other aspiring businesses.
Ms. Baffour assured UNDP”s commitment to supporting the government of Liberia long term recovery efforts and measures aimed at reducing socio-economic impacts on the vulnerable and contribute to economic development.
The Chief Executive Officer of iCampus Liberia Luther Jeke applauded the Ministry of Commerce, UNDP and other partners for the support, which he says, is a key factor to contributing to poverty alleviation and sustainable and viable income-generating opportunities for young entrepreneurs in the Country.
Jeke noted that Covid-19 has starkly revealed the importance of access to finance, digital assets and connectivity as well as a bank account and digital ID in an increasingly integrated global economy.