May 26, Monrovia hosted a lively and interactive event which focused on the emerging IT sector in the Liberian economical scene. 35 aspiring entrepreneurs, interested business owners and government officials attended the event, well aware of the value of an occasional mix and mingle with the right people. Representatives from companies such as Technopreneur, Orange and Wireless Technology Lab, the Kwagei Group and Icampus/Ilab were among the crowd.
The Liberia’s IT Interactive Session was the third event in the ‘SPARK Celebrates Entrepreneurship’ Series. To make this happen, SPARK hub teamed up with SwanPro and hosted the event in SwanPro’s brand new Liberia office – their very first office in the country. Entrepreneurs seized the opportunity to learn from speeches, discuss the tricks and turns of successful businesses, pitch their own innovative ideas and network with relevant stakeholders.
Among the attendees was keynote speaker, Darren Wilkins, the Managing Director and CEO of LIBTELCO. He talked about the opportunities in Liberia’s IT sector and said: “My advice to people: we have always been consumers, maybe it is time we started producing.”
Following Mr. Wilkins’ opening speech, which touched upon several challenges known to anyone involved in the scene, the attendees engaged in a group discussion. The discussions resulted in identifying several business opportunities, the challenges ahead and, of course, possible solutions to those challenges.
As Noelle Combo from SwanPro said in his remarks: “It can be exhilarating to stay ahead of the game. We are used to waiting for the customers to come to us with a problem and only then do we start to look for solutions. But I would say: build up on your ideas and have solutions ready at hand for when the need arises. This takes faith and determination but can bring your business to a whole new level.”
Following the brainstorm session, some of Liberia’s leading entrepreneurs shared their ideas for the IT sector and inspired the emerging entrepreneurs. Emmanuel is one of those young visionaries. His preliminary business idea aspires to create a solution for the access to land/land dispute problems around Monrovia by creating a real time website on which only legitimately owned lands and shelters are advertised. As the pitch event unfolded, Emanuel visibly soaked up the advice from his peers, jotting down notes on his pad.
Following the pitch event the attendees were encouraged to network with one another while visiting the SPARK Marketplace and enjoying some refreshments. It was a day of sharing, learning and connecting. “The government is present, the private sector is present, thank you for providing this opportunity to connect!” said a young, future-entrepreneur.