SPARK is partnering with Single SPARK for the 4th time, to kick off yet another Business.in.a.box project; this time focusing on women in Liberia.

The purpose of this project is to support youth employment and female entrepreneurship by introducing new proven business concepts as an opportunity for SMEs to grow. These businesses strive to be environmentally friendly or neutral and contribute to solving socio-economic issues within their target community, such as unemployment and food security.

“I started a laser engraving shop in Kigali. My business has been growing ever since. We engrave portraits and typography onto just about anything- from bibles to hangers!” says Jean-Paul, a successful entrepreneur from a previous business-in-a-box project in Rwanda.

The project seeks out young business minds and offers them tried-and-tested business ideas that are running successfully elsewhere. The unique concept, and the many previous success stories, encouraged ExxonMobil together with the National Oil Company of Liberia to support the project focusing on women in Liberia.

With the help of local partner Business Start-Up Monrovia, the project targets young Liberian women who aspire to be, or already are, entrepreneurs. 30 female entrepreneurs (see picture above) were selected to start 10 different businesses. The enterprises range from fruit juice suppliers to eye lash salons & cosmetic stores, beekeeping & honey production, packaging businesses, catering services and pig farming.

“At ExxonMobil, we know that when women move forward, the world moves with them. When women control their income, they invest in the health, education and well-being of their families and communities” said one ExxonMobil  official.

The selected entrepreneurs will receive a starter kit and conduct a feasibility scan and market research to see if their business could be viable in their context. In the coming months, the best participants will start writing their business plans and apply for a loan to make their dreams come true.

Candidates with high potential are then selected and matched to a successful business concept. They receive a tailor-made, Business-in-a-Box starter kit, containing a USB stick with all the tips and tricks, production videos and marketing materials for their business. They can use this material throughout their first year of business, alongside the training and support they receive from SPARK and Single SPARK.

Single Spark: “There are so many great businesses around the world. We want to inspire and present these to potential entrepreneurs so they can replicate the model and adjust it to their local market demand.”