“One of the main goals of this project is to make you become your own bosses. To make you become job providers/employers and not job seekers…” said Marcus Zarway, Project Manager of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Business Opportunities Support Services (BOSS) project.
Over forty graduating senior students and recent graduates of the Booker Washington Institute (BWI) were selected from a competitive business development plan competition launched by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in collaboration with the school’s administration with support from UNDP under its BOSS Project.
Since the launch of the competition, at least 24 business idea applications were received and evaluated out of which, the top 12 groups with the best business ideas were selected for a week-long training. Five students represented each of the 12 selected groups.
The week-long business development plan training facilitated by Jefferson Karr of the Vision Group Liberia Limited/Vision University College, practically coached the students in developing successful business plans. The students were enthusiastic about the practical way the training was conducted.
Cynthia T. Korfeh is a graduate of the BWI building trade department. She’s the lead applicant of a proposed business, Virtuous Building and Construction Company. Cynthia is hopeful of becoming an employer.
“My participation in this competition has made me a proud female among my peers. While other girls are thinking about doing other unlawful things to earn money, I see myself in this process competing with my male counterparts on how to become by own boss. How I can create jobs for my fellow young and older people alike,” Cynthia said.
Adolphus J. Johnson of the proposed Genius Café, is also enthusiastic about creating jobs and becoming an employer through the competition. Following the training, the students are expected to develop and submit a full business plans for further vetting by an independent body. At least the best five (5) business plans will receive seed funding to start up their businesses.
Like Cynthia and Adolphus, Bernice Ruz Thomas of the proposed Virtuous Building and Construction Company (Housekeeping) and Charles W. Mulbah of the Agro-Electronic are all confident of becoming employers.
The students thanked UNDP and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry for the opportunity afforded them to participate in an initiative that is aimed at transforming their lives into becoming productive citizens.
BWI Industrial Coordinator is James Walker. He said the management of BWI remains grateful to UNDP and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) for the partnership through the Business Opportunities Support Services Project.
Mr. Walker said the management of BWI sees the BOSS project, especially the entrepreneurship challenge (Business Plan Competition) and the subsequent business development plan training as a worthwhile initiative that seeks to empower the students in becoming employers rather than employees.
The entrepreneurship challenge (Business Plan Competition) is designed for graduating senior students and recent graduates of the BWI to explore supply chain gaps and corporate social investment (CSI) window of companies.
The project is being piloted under the Business Opportunities Support Services Project (BOSS) of UNDP Liberia, as a follow up activity to the Business development plan competition launched in June this year for the students.-Press release