Last month, Liberia’s Ministry of Youth and Sports brought together the key figures of youth entrepreneurship to celebrate the launch of a new programme called the Youth Entrepreneurship and Employment Project (YEEP).
YEEP, a 3-year project, is funded by the African Development Bank and facilitated in part by SPARK. The ultimate goal is to align what educational/vocational systems offer with the market needs and thus create more employment opportunities for Liberian youth.
“Once the youth is empowered, they will start their journey towards success and will contribute to the process of development in their country” mentioned Melany Oey, the Country Manager of SPARK Liberia, speaking at the event. She continued “thanks to the contribution of local communities and stakeholders and the Liberian government. The idea of an entrepreneurship centre for bright Liberians is now made real.”
The programme was launched at the Booker Washington Institute, the first agricultural and vocational institute in Kakata, and representatives from esteemed local institutions such as Nimba County Community College (NCCC) and the University of Liberia attended the event. Liberian Vice President, Joseph Nayuma Boakai, was among the speakers. In his remarks he talked about the importance of creating jobs for youth in Liberia and encouraged all responsible parties to unify with the Liberian government to create more opportunities for “the young resources of Liberia.”
Under YEEP, SPARK will help establish the 5th Entrepreneurship Centre in Liberia, this time in the heart of the NCCC, a community college in rural Sanniquellie with 1,400 students. The more remote areas of Liberia were hardhit during the years of conflict and infant businesses and entrepreneurs were equally damaged by the Ebola outbreak in 2015. Yet, together with local stakeholders such as community members, students and entrepreneurs, SPARK will develop the Graduate Entrepreneurship Programme (GEP). GEP aims to stimulate entrepreneurship amongst youth and students attending NCCC.