An Initiative to Help Grow Liberian Businesses
MONROVIA — The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has partnered with iCampus Liberia, Growth Africa and the Accountability Lab Liberia, to support impactful Liberian entrepreneurs to scale up their ventures through access to technical assistance, mentorship and co-financing.
Liberia is ranked 176th out of 189 countries on the UNDP 2019 Human Development Index. The country faces stark challenges in with more than 50% of the population living in poverty, particularly in rural areas (71.8%) to urban areas (31.5%). A key factor contributing to poverty in Liberia is limited access to sustainable and viable income-generating opportunities.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as poverty and inequality prevalent Growth Accelerator Liberia has been established to aid long term recovery efforts and support measures that reduce socio-economic impacts on the vulnerable and contribute to economic development.
This initiative kicked off on Tuesday, 31, with the launch of the initiative and the application process for interested entrepreneurs; closing the application process by the 10th of September 2021, ending the first phase of the Growth Accelerator Liberia.
With UNDP’s 50+ yearlong focus on driving sustainable development in the lower- and middle-income countries around the globe, and iCampus’s Growth Africa and Accountability Lab Liberia’s strong track record of working to alleviate hardship and strengthen organizations and individuals, this new initiative shows much promise.
The Accelerator is being set up to support growth stage and established businesses that are viable, effective and impactful, particularly in accelerating economic growth and activity amid COVID19 recovery efforts. It will look for ventures with both innovative solutions and transformative business models, services and products that are post revenue.
Dorsla D. Farcarthy, UNDP’s Liberia Assistant Country Rep and Team Leader, speaking at the event, said Growth Accelerator Liberia is inviting Liberian Businesses, but especially entrepreneurs in Grand Gedeh, Grand Cape Mount, Lofa, Montserrado, Grand Bassa, Nimba and Sinoe counties to apply. Applicants may visit the website, growlib.org, visit partner offices and named locations in the mentioned counties to pick up the forms.
Luther Jeke of the iCampus, also speaking said, moving forward, the Accelerator will enable selected businesses a mix of mentorship, technical assistance and financial incentives to enable them to grow and make them sustainable.
“For example, COVID-19 has starkly highlighted how having access to digital assets and connectivity as well as a bank account, and digital ID is key in the increasingly integrated global economy,” he said.
He noted that the growth accelerator, is a proven model that works; and Accountability Lab has helmed similar programs that continue be impactful. According to him, UNDP has launched accelerators in several countries to help enterprises to scale; adding that the partnership between the Accountability Lab and iCampus and UNDP seeks to build up innovative solutions and business models to address the poverty and inequality in Liberia especially amidst the COVID-19 crisis.
Accountability Lab Liberia’s Country Director, Lawrence Yealue, speaking of their experience, said iCampus- Liberia’s first multi-disciplinary, innovation and community space for change-makers is focusing on the intersection of technology, accountability and social change.
“Our 4,000 square foot campus in the heart of Monrovia provides the space, resources, support and cutting-edge technologies that can make change possible in Liberia,” he said.