Liberia: Cummings Africa Foundation Gives US15K to Two Local Entrepreneurs
Monrovia – Two local entrepreneurs over the weekend emerged winners of the Cummings Africa Foundation business Pitching competition. They were selected through a competitive process and selected as winners out of a hundred contestants.
P. Folton Blasin and Satta Wahab pitched the best business proposals and edged the competition to emerge winners of the Cummings Foundation small business pitch competition.
Blasin represented “Say No to Hunger Farmer Cooperative”, a local agriculture business involved in the production of mixed vegetable and Animal husbandry entity; while Wahab represented “Naz Natural,” another local business that focuses on producing hair products made out of local natural oil.
The “Say No to Hunger” walked away with US$ 10k as the first winner while “Naz Natural” was the 5K second winner in grants from the Cummings Africa Foundation. The competition was intended to give entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their brilliant ideas to improve or scale their businesses.
Wahab, winner of the US5k told the gathering of entrepreneurs that she saw the competition as a challenge especially being the only woman among many men. “This is what I have to say to women entrepreneurs, we have to work hard and twice as much as men to get what men will get easily.”
Coming into this competition, Wahab said she had to sit and think about the fact that amongst the final contestant, she was the only female. “I had to work hard to represent us. I had to work hard.” She said she will invest the grant into her business to make it stronger and competitive.”
Blasin, whose business operates in Nimba County, intends to invest the US$10K in his business by empowering more women, especially those who are single parents. He also aims to bring more vulnerable youths by giving them employment to earn a livelihood.
“Currently in Nimba County we are the major vegetable cooperative. With this amount, we plan to give financial assistance to single mothers and vulnerable youths. We want them to leave the street and find a livelihood we want people to get involved in agriculture.”
“The private sector is the biggest employer of people and the biggest generator of wealth for Liberians you are in the process of changing that paradigm where you can grow your businesses and employ people make money for you and your family unapologetically.”Mr. Alexander Cummings, Founder of Cummungs Africa Foundation
Blasin said he was proud to receive the prize on behalf of his Cooperative. “The process was tough with a high degree of competitiveness to convince a team of high-level panelists about your business idea and proposal among over one hundred entrepreneurs across Liberia and to finally emerge as number one.”
Blasin said about two weeks ago, his cooperative was certificated by the Cooperative Development Agency as a national Cooperative. Now, he says being the winner of the Nationwide Entrepreneurship summit means a lot. “With this award, we are going to produce more fresh vegetables and pork meat on the Liberian market. Agro business is key to nation-building and thanks to my hardworking and very committed team.”
Entrepreneurs from all sectors of the Liberian business benefitted from the two-day summit sponsored by the “Cummings Africa Foundation,” intended to promote innovation, Idea sharing, and Inspiration.
The summit under the Cummings Africa Foundation is the first in Liberia. The Liberia Entrepreneurship summit appeared to be the most comprehensive business conference of its kind that brought together scores of Liberian business owners.
The summit focused on knowledge sharing, business identification, seminars and masterclasses facilitated by industry experts. The overarching goal of the summit was to equip Liberian businesses with knowledge, tools, and resources necessary to position their businesses to be drivers of the Liberian Economy.
Mr. Alexander Cummings, Founder/Chairman of the Cummings Africa Foundation told participants that the summit is the first and is an event his foundation will continue to host for developing entrepreneurs to help empower them to develop their businesses.
Mr. Cummings told the gathering of young and prospective entrepreneurs that the private sector has to be the driver of economic growth in Liberia and entrepreneurship has to be one of the primary vehicles for doing that.
“The private sector is the biggest employer of people and the biggest generator of wealth for Liberians you are in the process of changing that paradigm where you can grow your businesses and employ people make money for you and your family unapologetically.”
More than 100 small business owners from around the country converged in Monrovia, for a non-stop entrepreneurial experience that will provide participants with not only inspiration but motivation! The summit included invaluable networking spanning several workshops, master-classes, panel discussions, and social events.
“Whether you are a start-up, small business or innovator looking for what’s next – this the summit is for you,” says Alexander B. Cummings, keynote speaker of the summit and Founder of the Cummings Africa Foundation. “Our goal is to equip the SMEs of Liberia with tools and experience that will impact their businesses in a positive and upward way.