Sierra Leone’s small and medium sized enterprises set to improve productivity and competitiveness

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 15 December 2022:

Thanks to UK-government funded initiative – Invest Salone, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Sierra Leone are receiving invaluable support, aimed at improving investment and export readiness, productivity and competitiveness.

Following initial assessments conducted earlier this summer, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) who will be receiving support under Invest Salone’s technical assistance facility (TAF), gathered in Freetown on 8 December 2022 for an orientation session to learn more about the process and its benefits.

Offered on a shared-cost basis, the TAF provides tailored support to individual companies in agriculture, manufacturing, and fashion and textiles. It is one of several ways that the UK-government funded initiative works with firms in Sierra Leone to promote business growth, innovation and competitiveness.

The TAF is being delivered through Innovation SL, a Sierra Leone-based entrepreneur support organisation, and will consist of classroom sessions and one-to-one mentoring. The orientation session will be followed with a course in bookkeeping and financial management, which is intended to ensure that participating firms have the necessary foundations for sustainable growth, before receiving individualised technical assistance which addresses identified goals.

Francis Stevens from Innovation SL said: “Knowing your numbers can tell you a lot about the viability of your business model, however financial management can be a challenge for many young firms. Our initial diagnostics indicate that the SMEs receiving technical assistance would benefit from additional work in this area. This course in bookkeeping and financial management is the start of a journey, which will provide these firms with foundations to make more informed business decisions.”

The course is being delivered by Tafadzwa Daphne Chiganga of Muzambaringa, who has over 17-years of experience training start-ups in financial management.

Training participant Petemaa Alusine Sheriff, CEO of Bigthings Poultry, said: “We are an ambitious company and we see ourselves in the future as one of the biggest poultry companies in West Africa. We know how important good financial management is, and that we would benefit from better understanding in this area. Getting our bookkeeping and financial management right, takes us a step closer to being able to handle large transactions in the future.”

Sally Brunton, Portfolio Manager of Invest Salone, said: “Recent work by Invest Salone and its partners indicates that small firms in Sierra Leone really benefit from individually tailored training and specialist one-to-one coaching. Today’s session begins a four-month programme, after which we look forward to seeing how these companies contribute to a more dynamic and diversified private sector in Sierra Leone.”

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