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Cordaid NL
Private Sector Development

Accelerating Business Development in Sierra Leone

Cordaid, in partnership with USAID, Resolve and ReGrow, launched the third cohort of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) enrolled in its Resilient Business Development Program (RBDS). The launch took place recently at the Sierra Light House at Aberdeen. It was followed by an orientation workshop for the 33 SMEs from various sectors including agribusiness, light manufacturing, food processing, services, and healthcare.

This program follows up the Cordaid RBDS cohort 1 and 2 programs. With each previous cohort initially having 15 SMEs, Cordaid and ReGrow jointly agreed to co-finance a program that will provide Business Development Support to 33 SMEs. The first RBDS pilot program was held in 2015, with 15 SMEs. Upon its success, a second cohort program was held with another 15 SMEs.

Creating economic impact is about supporting businesses that will be able to employ, to grow, create wealth, and pay taxes. And this is what we do.

Olubunmi Thomas, Program Officer for Cordaid’s private sector development program 

Accelerating economic opportunities

The new partnership with Regrow is to ensure an increase in the amount of businesses that could create greater economic and social impact. By assisting more than double the number of SMEs from previous programs, Cordaid and Regrow aim to deepen their private sector development involvement, and thus accelerating economic opportunities and creating a bigger impact in private sector development.

business development

Mariatu Jusu, the owner of Salone Juice, one of the 33 SMEs enrolled in the RBDS program.

Main aims of the program

The four main aims of the program are

  • to enable stronger business management capacity which is one of the key issues for entrepreneurs in Sierra Leone;
  • to support the formation of business structures
  • to allow SMEs to apply for and gain access to adequate investment and growth financing;
  • to help SMEs structure their business and have the proper requirements and knowledge to access to finance.

During the event, statements were made by Mohamed Sesay, the Country Director of Cordaid, Sheka Forna, the Director of Regrow, and staff from the Private Sector Development Team at Cordaid–all who highlighted the need for strategic support for SMEs and the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Sierra Leone.

Olubunmi Thomas, the Program Officer for the PSD program at Cordaid, admonished the SMEs to use the opportunity of the program in the best interest of their businesses. “Creating economic impact is about more than just building businesses. It’s about supporting businesses that will be able to employ, to grow, create wealth, and pay taxes. And this is what we do.”

Cordaid in Sierra Leone

Cordaid has been working in Sierra Leone since the early 90s in Sexual and Reproductive Health, Performance Based Financing, and Investments to SMEs and Microfinance Institutions. Currently, Cordaid is rolling out programs in all 14 districts in Sierra Leone, in health systems strengthening and private sector development. Cordaid supports the private sector through Resilience Business Development programs, access to finance and investment, and microfinance. Cordaid also provides adolescent sexual and reproductive health care services and shares data for decision making to the District Health Management Teams with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation.

If you have questions or wish to obtain further information about this program or other activities in Sierra Leone, please contact our communications officer Ngozi Cole in Freetown.