On Saturday 30th May, the University of Makeni (UNIMAK), E4impact partner in Sierra Leone, organized the 2015 Makeni Business Forum on the theme “Doing business in Sierra Leone after the Ebola outbreak. Support programs and resources for entrepreneurs”.
This annual event takes place within the activities of the Global MBA in Impact Entrepreneurship, that is at its 1st edition in Sierra Leone, and has seen the participation of over 200 entrepreneurs and business executives.
After the welcoming speeches of fr. Joseph Alimamy Turay (UNIMAK Vice-Chancellor) and Sunkarie Kabba Kamara (Mayor of Makeni City Council), the Master of Ceremony Joe Abass Bangura (CEO of A Call To Business) introduced a remarkable series of business speakers. Among them: Mary Agboli (IFC-World Bank), Mohamed Tejan-Kella (IFAD), David Alpha Kamara (A Call to Business), Sharron Kelliher (Cordaid), Joseph Lansana (Office of Diaspora Affairs) and Peter Lansana (UNIMAK MBA). The keynote speech was delivered by Hon. Mabinty Daramy, Deputy Minister of Trade & Industry.
Local entrepreneurs had the opportunity to showcase their products and services in the “Entrepreneurial Trade Fair” outside UNIMAK Hall and all the participants could learn more about businesses, such as Binkolo Growth Centre (processing local agriculture products such as cassava, ginger and moringa) or Envirotec Ltd. (a Start-Up lead by Abdul Karim Kamara, winner of the E4impact Business Idea Competition 2014, producing tiles out of recycled plastic waster) that UNIMAK recently contracted to cobble the Hall outdoor.
The event was sponsored by Africell (main sponsor), Sierratel and Salone Microfinance Trust and has been a powerful example on how Sierra Leone can build a beneficial entrepreneurial ecosystem where information is widely shared.
“UNIMAK is a great example of how a university can become a sound platform where investors, entrepreneurs and policy-makers find a common ground to collaborate.” said Martino Ghielmi, E4impact West Africa manager “I’m glad to see how our entrepreneurs are longing to significantly contribute to the creation and development of a vibrant indigenous private sector in Sierra Leone.”
In the afternoon, participants of the E4impact MBA took their matriculation oath and promised to meet on the 6th of June at the coaching session that is taking place in Freetown (Sierra Leone).