LIBERIA: Growth Accelerator Liberia Hosts Alumni and Investment Partners Workshop

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Growth Accelerator Liberia has conducted a one-day event that brought together alumni and investment partners to foster economic growth and sustainability. The gathering emphasized the critical role of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and agricultural cooperatives in Liberia’s economic development.
Luther Jeke, CEO of iCampus Liberia, underscored the significance of SMEs and agricultural cooperatives to the country’s economic progress. He pointed out that these entities face substantial challenges, particularly in accessing financial services necessary for expansion, technological investment, and productivity enhancement.
“The success and growth of Liberia’s SMEs and agricultural cooperatives are vital for our economic development,” Jeke stated. “However, they often struggle to secure the financial services that are crucial for their growth.”
Recognizing these challenges, the Growth Accelerator Liberia Alumni and investment partners’ cross-learning exchange aims to bridge the gap between micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), agricultural cooperatives, and local banks.
He further highlighted the impact of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on the initiative. “The UNDP has invested at least $1.5 million, benefiting around 38 Liberian small businesses and agricultural cooperatives.
Representatives of 22 SMEs and agricultural cooperatives, Cooper Gweh and Verity Sonkarlay, shared their experiences and challenges with commercial banks. They cited high-interest rates, lengthy processing times, excessive bureaucracy, collateral requirements, and limited access to external markets as significant obstacles.
E. Abraham Tumbay, Program Coordinator at UNDP Liberia, elaborated on UNDP’s commitment to unlocking the potential of the informal sector and nurturing entrepreneurial spirit across the country. “The Growth Accelerator Liberia program targets impactful and innovative ventures, offering them a combination of co-financing grants, mentorship, and technical assistance,” Tumbay explained.
He added that the program includes rigorous annual business development training and a business plan pitching competition, with winners receiving up to $40,000 in co-financing.
“The UNDP is dedicated to ensuring that no one is left behind as we strive to unleash the true potential of Liberia’s informal sector and harness the entrepreneurial energy of its people,” Tumbay emphasized.

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