July 18, 2016

SPARK celebrates entrepreneurship in West Africa  

Celebrating entrepreneurship in West Africa

SPARK has been encouraging debate and entrepreneurial talent in Liberia and the Ivory Coast through a series of events over the last two months. With guest speakers from across the sub-continent including Thierry N’Doufou, an African Entrepreneur and the founder of Quelasy tablet and Nyamah Dunbar the founder of agribusiness start-up venture, Sankofa Inc. Both have shown commitment and drive to bring opportunities to their countries. As Mrs. Dunbar shared during her talk: ‘Entrepreneurship has to be more than just about money, it has to foresee and encompass some level of change that impacts the society and development in a positive manner.’

Ivory Coast

In Abidjan, Ivory Coast an inaugural event was held in July to launch SPARK’s first Business Support Centre (BSC) in the country. The support centre promotes entrepreneurship training, coaching and access to finance for SMEs and start-ups in the area. The opening was held at the Nangui Abrogoua University, a centre for science and math in the region. Following this there were presentations on the upcoming activities the centre is planning to organise in order to support young entrepreneurs. Mr. N’Doufou provided a dynamic and inspiring presentation on his own experiences starting a business, before going into details of the business environment in Ivory Coast and West Africa. He also gave advice to future entrepreneurs, on how they can innovate to create business opportunities out of their problems and the importance of changing their perceptions in order to successfully face and overcome the challenges ahead.

The BSC provides services such as financial literacy, marketing & sales and market research. Mr. N’Doufou also kindly expressed his willingness to offer internships to university students in his company Qelasy, Africa’s first smart educational tablet. He ended the event by generously gifting a Qelasy tablet to the Business Support Centre in Abidjan, which will be a fantastic resource for the young entrepreneurs.


In a similar event, SPARK in Liberia has been focusing on women in business initiatives. On June 24th the well-established BSC hub in Monrovia held their first event in the Celebrate Entrepreneurship Series. The series, which will be held every month, is organized to explore a different topic related to entrepreneurship and doing business in Liberia & West Africa. Guests were invited to participate in an exchange with Liberian female entrepreneurs, potential partners and experts on business in Liberia. The keynote speaker, Nyamah Dunbar, highlighted what it means to be a female entrepreneur in Liberia. In the discussions that followed, participants exchanged their experiences around the challenges and factors of success for female entrepreneurs. This was followed by informal networking and drinks during while attendees could browse products from female-owned businesses on display in the SPARK Hub marketplace. The hub will continue to call for entrepreneurship to be included in early years’ education, especially for women.

The events were a success as guests were in attendance to show their support and to learn more about what the BSC centers can offer them. That many young people were in attendance demonstrated the growing interest there is among West-African youth for business and job creation.