Liberia: UNDP Launches Cohort Two of its Growth Accelerator Project
MONROVIA – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has for the second year launched the second phase of its Growth Accelerator project with an aim to support impactful Liberian entrepreneurs to scale up their ventures through access to technical assistance, mentorship, and co-financing of up to US$40,000.
Report by Francis G. Boayue
This program is being implemented with policy support from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry along with iCampus Liberia and Accountability Lab Liberia.
The Growth Accelerator Liberia is a UNDP and Government of Liberia initiative under the Livelihood & Employment Creation project implemented by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry.
The project was launched on Thursday in Monrovia by UNDP and its partners and it is expected to add an agricultural component and extension to include impactful Liberian Agricultural Cooperatives.
Liberia is ranked at the bottom and sits among 20 countries on the UNDP Human Development Index facing stark challenges with more than 50% of the population living in poverty with result to key factor contributing to poverty in Liberia with limited access to sustainable and viable income-generating opportunities.
The Resident Coordinator of UNDP Stephen Rodriques said the Growth and Accelerator Liberia Program started in 2021 with aim of supporting and accelerating impactful For-profit ventures across Liberia.
According to him, entrepreneurship is a fundamental part of growth and development in Liberia, adding that the program this year seeks to provide grant funding of up to $40,000.00 to 12 successful business ventures with 12 months of support to the successful ventures that are ready to grow and scale.
“We are inviting Liberian businesses, but especially agricultural cooperatives and entrepreneurs in Grand Gedeh, Grand Cape Mount, Lofa, Montserrado, Grand Bassa, Nimba and Sinoe counties to take advantage of the Call for Application for Cohort two of the growth accelerator programme and the opportunities it affords them to grow their businesses using the business skills and potential funding that can be realized from this programme,” he said.
He said the project is set to include eight post-revenue MSMEs and five agriculture cooperatives and provide entrepreneurs that are impact-driven with business development training, mentorship, and access to funding that will enable them to grow and scale.
He acknowledged the partnership between the Ministry of Commerce and the UNDP in the implementation of the livelihood and employment creation project as well as promoting business development services and providing access to capital for Liberian businesses.
He also used the moment to recognize the Ministry of Commerce for the collaboration and support provided to Accountability Lab & ICampus for successfully organizing the first edition of the Liberia Growth Accelerator event and other partners like SWEDEN and EU who are also in partnership with us on other endeavors including those that contributed to the UNDP TRAC 2 for their support unlocking the growth potential of Liberian entrepreneurs.
The Chief Executive Officer of iCampus, Luther Jeke said the growth accelerator program will enable selected businesses and cooperatives a mix of mentorship, technical assistance, and financial incentives to enable them to grow and make them sustainable.
“The growth accelerator is a proven model that works. Accountability Lab has helmed similar programs that continue to be impactful. UNDP has launched accelerators in several countries to help enterprises to scale. The partnership between the Accountability Lab and iCampus and UNDP and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry seeks to build up innovative solutions and business models to address the poverty and inequality in Liberia,” he said.
Accountability Lab Liberia Country Director, W. Lawrence Yealue, II for his part, said of their experiences the Growth Accelerator Liberia challenge is in partnership with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry with funding from UNDP Livelihood and Employment Programme.
“iCampus- Liberia’s first multi-disciplinary, innovation and community space for change-makers focusing on the intersection of technology, entrepreneurship and inclusion. 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.