President Ernest Bai Koroma is expected to announce the winner of the countryís first nationwide business plan competition tomorrow, Friday 15th January 2010.
The occasion to be held at the Family Kingdom will also witness the handing over of a cheque of Le75,000,000 (Seventy Five Million Leones) to the winner of the first nationwide business plan competition, in a bid to foster a culture of entrepreneurship that recognizes, rewards, and supports entrepreneurs across Sierra Leone.
In all, President Koroma shall preside over an event that will see some twenty winning entrepreneurs walk away with cheques totaling over Le800,000,000 (Eight Hundred Million Leones). Winners are expected to invest winnings in their businesses, many of which are start-ups, or purchase business advisory services to help them further refine and implement their plans to achieve business growth.
It could be recalled that the Government of Sierra Leone, six months ago, launched "Business Bomba", the countryís first nationwide business plan competition to foster widespread entrepreneurship as a central element of efforts to transform the private sector into the engine of diversified growth in the country.
President Koroma has reportedly identified an energized private sector as one of the essential pillars of his Agenda for Change, the national strategy to transform the countryís economic fortunes.
Business Bomba saw a strong response from budding entrepreneurs across Sierra Leone. Some 300 participants received intensive hands-on support in order to submit two-page business ideas. Judges then whittled all accepted entries down to 60 qualifiers who in turn received more hands-on support to develop six-page business plan. Another round of judging produced 20 finalists.
These 20 finalists had to pitch their business proposals to a panel of distinguished judges in a televised process dubbed the "Lionís Den". This panel selected the top five winners each of whom will be recognized in the special award ceremony this Friday. However, in recognition of the merit of all the ideas and the hard work the 20 finalists put in to the intensive process, each of the 15 runners-up will also receive a cash prize.
Agribusiness ideas feature strongly among the 20 finalists, showing that the country at large is focused on the priorities within the Agenda for Change, which places strong emphasis on value addition in agriculture.
Developed by the Ministry of Trade and Industry with financial support from the UK Department for International Development Sierra Leone (DFIDSL) and New York-based Soros Economic Development Fund, Business Bomba business plan competition is an integral component of the five-year Private Sector Development Strategy launched by the Government of Sierra Leone in March 2009.