“We want to go beyond our limits”
Having graduated from the University of Liberia in Public Administration and Accounting, Alpha S. Kollie wanted to put his education into practice.
Since the country was ravaged by the outbreak of Ebola in 2014 and in the absence of functioning healthcare systems, Liberia’s people have turned to preventative hygiene methods. Seeing a gap in this emerging product market, Alpha focused his efforts on a soap business.
He joined the Entrepreneurship Plus/Business in a Box competition (a collaborative project by IFC, MoCI, SPARK, Single Spark and the Business Start-Up Center Monrovia), which is designed to boost the SME ecosystem in Liberia. The programme gave Alpha the necessary tools to start a small business, such as how to conduct market surveys, develop marketing plans and take a customer-based approach.
“Currently we are a startup”, said Alpha, “while we work in four communities right now, we can still only employ five people. So creating job opportunities remains limited.” However, Alpha’s soap brand, Global Green Village, has tailored its business plan to understanding local behaviours and market needs, which is paying dividends. “I see potential for growth. We are producing bars of soap now, but we already have plans to expand it to create a much larger assortment. We want to go beyond our limits”.
Alpha’s motivation and drive is mirrored by many Liberian entrepreneurs, who are resilient having battled conflict and crisis in order to continue their businesses. “However young”, Alpha explains, “my business is yet another Liberian-owned business contributing to the National Development Plan by creating jobs and strengthening the local economy. I hope to become one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, both in my business and in creating jobs for others.”