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LSEI implements World Bank project in Collaboration with GC to train CSOs

The Liberia Social Enterprise Incubator (LSEI), an initiative to assess and build capacity for social enterprise (SE) innovation in Liberia, has completed a two day training workshop (May 25-26, 2016) for Civil Society Organizations in this Country. The training was held under the theme “The Liberia Social Enterprise Initiative: Transforming Communities through Sustainable Business Models. The training workshop is an initiative of the World Bank Social Enterprise Innovations Lab and the World Bank Liberia Country Office, and was facilitated by Dr. Kelly Ann Krawczyk from Auburn University, (USA). It was held at Bella Casa Hotel in Sinkor.

The May workshop is the second of two workshops intended to help participants learn business fundamentals and improve their strategic thinking. The first was held on April 27-28, 2016. The trainings helped build the capacities of participants to emerge from the workshops with a draft business plan that demonstrates social impact growth and long term financial sustainability.

Topics covered during the trainings include Who can become a social entrepreneur; the study of social enterprise; non-profits versus business; identifying/knowing and creating ideas to meet community needs; market and SWOT analyses; product and service description; developing marketing and operations plans; communicating and promoting your brand; accounting equations and mechanics among others.

The concept of Social entrepreneurship and social enterprising are new to Liberia and could pose serious challenges to small businesses particularly those that have been dependent on grants, donors and hand-outs. LSEI agrees that this innovative is new to Liberia but that it seeks to identify and work with both active and social entrepreneurs, youth organizations, corporations, individuals  and promising innovators that fit its definition of social enterprise.

Other objectives of LSEI include, through a business plan competition, awarding seed funding to the top three submissions of promising social innovative organizations that attended the training and involved with promoting a social innovation that addresses local challenges, and has the potential to benefit the community; and increasing awareness of social enterprise and entrepreneurship to strengthen institutional knowledge, capacity for, and application of SE to facilitate service delivery throughout Liberia.

The second LSEI workshop training was held in collaboration with the Governance Commission (GC).  Workshop participants included employees from the Ministries of Agriculture and Youth and Sports, GC, with an array of Civil Society organizations making up the bulk of the beneficiaries.

In opening remarks Governance Commission Officer in Charge  Mrs. Catherine Karmo who proxy for the Executive Director Stephen Manley  noted that though social enterprise is new to Liberia it will surely introduce a new dimension geared towards empowering participants – GC staff and others from the MACs and civil society – new areas of fundraising.  Mrs. Karmo commended organizers of the May training workshop including facilitator Kelly Ann Krawczyk from Auburn University, LSEI and the World Bank for efforts aimed at empowering civil society organizations in particular.

At the end of the two-day workshop, participants, in various remarks, commended organizers of the workshop including GC for providing new ideas and funding sources through social enterprise initiatives. They also commented on the relevance of such trainings to the sustenance of their various institutions.

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