AFFORD BUSINESS CENTRE
AFFORD Business Centre (ABC) Diaspora Investment Programme 2015: ‘Doing Business in Sierra Leone Workshop’
Press Release: For Immediate Release
AFFORD Business Centre (ABC) Diaspora Investment Programme 2015:‘Doing Business in Sierra Leone Workshop’
Theme: ‘Doing Business & the Ebola Crisis: Challenges and Opportunities’
Date: Saturday, 7 November 2015 from 10:00 to 13:00
Location: Room PLR, Herbert Smith Freehills, Exchange House, Primrose St, London EC2A 2EG
As Sierra Leone prepares to announce its Ebola –free status on November 7th, AFFORD Business Centre (ABC) is reviving its programme of investment events linking up the Sierra Leonean diaspora and other UK-based investors with business opportunities in Sierra Leone. In partnership with the Sierra Leone High Commission, the event on November 7th will hear from businesses that have successfully traded during the Ebola crisis, and share knowledge of the current exciting opportunities available in the post Ebola country.
“Diaspora investors and other foreign-based businesses operating in Sierra Leone play a vital role in supporting the country’s economy by creating jobs and wealth,” says Onyekachi Wambu, Director of AFFORD-UK. “It is important they get an accurate picture of the opportunities and realities now that Sierra Leone is once more open for business.”
The ‘Doing Business… Workshop’, takes place on the same date Sierra Leone is expected to be declared free of Ebola virus disease transmission, with the country reaching the requisite 42 day World Health Organisation milestone of zero new infections.
Unisa Dizo-Conteh, ABC UK Project Manager, says: “As we look ahead, businesses will no doubt face numerous immediate and long term consequences of the Ebola crisis. Our research study, currently underway, will improve knowledge of the impact of Ebola on SMEs and investors. The findings will be used to tailor our ABC activities to build resilience and increase preparedness to withstand future challenges as part of the Ebola recovery effort.”
Confirmed speakers include Albert Tucker, director of Karma Cola UK, an ethical drinks company where he is also Chairman of the Karma Cola Foundation, which supports communities in Sierra Leone; Ade Daramy, chair of the Sierra Leone UK Diaspora Ebola Response Taskforce which has been involved in the fight against Ebola; as well as Rebecca Perlman lawyer and pro bono specialist at law firm Herbert Smith Freehills.
“At ABC, we are committed to strengthening the capacity of entrepreneurs doing business in Sierra Leone,” says David Bathalomew, AFFORD Sierra Leone. “In our enterprise hub here in the heart of Freetown, Sierra Leone’s capital, we are improving the ease of doing business by providing practical support to businesses including a one-stop-shop business registration, prestigious virtual office space and access to information on investment opportunities and business matching. “
Notes for editors
1) The African Foundation for Development United Kingdom (AFFORD UK)
AFFORD is a charity with the mission “to expand and enhance the contribution Africans in the diaspora make to African development”. For the first 10 years of its existence, AFFORD focused on the dual tasks of: UK and international policy advocacy; and capacity-building for diaspora organisations and individuals. The charity is a pioneer and innovator in the field of policy and practice of ‘diaspora and development’. AFFORD’s advocacy work contributed to UK and international recognition of the role of the diaspora in African and international development, and in the subsequent initiation of new policies, programmes, funds and schemes. AFFORD’s current priority projects and activities are on diaspora contributions to job creation through enterprise development in Africa. The charity is playing a pioneering role in this area, through its range of innovative schemes.
2) The African Foundation for Development Sierra Leone (AFFORD SL)
AFFORD Sierra Leone seeks to facilitate the creation, protection and maintenance of jobs through practical support of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME). Its business coaches and advisors provide direct technical support, coaching and mentoring to over 800 businesses. To expand the scope of enterprise development as a viable option for self-employment and job creation, AFFORD-SL advocates and lobbies for a conducive business environment in Sierra Leone. AFFORD-SL also ran and managed ‘Business Bomba’, the biggest business planning competition in Sierra Leone, which has so far provided over $600,000 in capital for MSMEs.
3) AFFORD Business Centre (ABC)
ABC has made an important contribution to the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in Sierra Loene, since its inception in 2011 as an initiative of AFFORD-SL and AFFORD-UK. This has included the establishment of an enterprise hub for pre-start-ups to post-start-ups, supported by a pool of 40 AFFORD-trained business advisors and coaches, and workshops for UK based Diaspora Direct Investors and other Foreign Investors on how to do business in Sierra Leone. In two years ABC has supported the creation and protection of over 360 jobs in Sierra Leone through comprehensive business development support. This is against a background of cultural and endemic barriers to enterprise, as well as the recent Ebola crisis.