“Cordaid’s Resilient Business Development Services (RBDS) training is life changing for businesses in Sierra Leone”, says Andrea Koroma, CEO and founder of Little Lamb Events and Bridals. This is one of many SMEs in Sierra Leone benefiting from Cordaid’s private sector development program.
Little Lamb is a bridal and events company in Freetown. It provides one stop shop services, including cake making and decoration for weddings, parties, and workshops.
Innovative business training and mentorship
The business is part of Cohort 3 of the RBDS accelerator. This program is being implemented by the private sector development department at Cordaid. Its aim is to improve and strengthen small and medium enterprises in various sectors through innovative business training and mentorship.
With Andrea’s coaching, I hope to become the best cake decorator in Freetown.
Usifu Turay, Cake designer at Little Lamb
Koroma testified that the business trainings have improved her business management skills. This has helped to improve and sustain her company. She has now become better at delegating tasks, and as a result offers more professional and skills training to her workers. “Initially, I wasn’t taking notes of all cash transactions and assets. Also, my staff were not properly trained as I did most of the baking and did now want to delegate,” she says. “Having gone through RBDS trainings, I realized that I need to train staff and delegate responsibilities to them, so they will be able to deliver properly.”
Further training sessions on financial management made Andrea understand the importance of filing cash transactions. That helped her to keep track of the money being spent and received daily.
Improved business skills thanks to RBDS trainings
Peter Ghombo, Cordaid Program Officer for Private Sector Development based in Sierra Leone, also serves as a trainer. He has seen the impact of the trainings on businesses across the country. “At the start of the current cohort, many SMEs were not applying improved strategy business management skills and techniques. However, early impact study results show that SMEs are now adopting organized methods of business records keeping. This is a result of our RBDS training and capacity building events.”
Having gone through RBDS trainings, I realized that I need to train staff and delegate responsibilities to them.
Andrea Koroma, CEO and founder of Little Lamb Events and Bridals.
Since Little Lamb Events and Bridal was founded in 2016, Ms Koroma faced many challenges of recruiting and retaining staff. She has, nevertheless, employed many young people in Sierra. Usifu Turay, a Cake Designer, is one of them. A former taxi driver, he joined Little Lamb Events in 2017, following his passion for cake designing. “I love designing cakes. I want to pursue it as a career,” says Usifu. “With Andrea’s coaching, I hope to become the best cake decorator in Freetown.”
Aminata Koroma is a receptionist at Little Lamb events and Bridals. This single mother says she now uses the money from her job to take care of her child and her extended family. “I am now able to support my family with my salary, and I have also started learning baking, so I can use that skill in the future.”
The Cordaid RBDS program has a domino effect in the private sector in Sierra Leone. By helping businesses improve management procedures and build skills, staff in those SMEs can also work on skills training, build careers and support their families.
(Featured image: Little Lamb Events and Bridals’ staff, with Andrea Koroma second on the left. © Little Lamb Events and Bridals)