Liberian artists have been assured of technical assistance provided by USAID’s Liberia Investing for Business Expansion program (IBEX) to establish and operate as legal entities. USAID-IBEX Chief of Party, Mrs. Watchen Harris-Bruce, gave the assurance on Monday, November 18, at a Small Business Financial Management Entrepreneurship Workshop with Liberian Artists. Mrs. Bruce said Liberian artists have great potentials and talents that could be tapped to help them translate their skills into capital for the expansion of their businesses and improved livelihoods.
“We want to ensure that you are legal and be able to get financing, investments and other benefits”, Mrs. Bruce said: adding,” You’ve got first to register as either a sole proprietorship, corporation, limited liability or NGO and get your legal status,” something, she added.
IBEX could help them do. She said a registered business entity has many advantages, including accessing resources for expansion, growth and increased profitability in spite of its tax obligations to the Government. She observed that most Liberian businesses are still operating at a micro level and needed to move to another level.
IBEX works with SMEs in the Agriculture and Renewable Energy Sectors, providing financial services that include technical support and capacity building for SMEs and banks; supporting SMEs in the loan process and assisting business planning and growth.
The program is implemented by the International Executive Service Corps (IESC) through the US-based Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA).
In her opening remarks, Sally Hodgson, Public Affairs Officer at the US Embassy, described the workshop as special because it marked the beginning of Global Entrepreneurship Week, an international effort started back in 2007 by a group of individuals to promote small businesses.
Ms. Hodgson hoped Liberian artists could benefit from it and said she looks forward to seeing some of them back at the US Embassy for an upcoming trade fair in December to showcase and sell their products using some tips from the workshop.
The workshop, organized in collaboration with the Public Affairs Office at the United States of America Embassy near Monrovia, brought together over 100 artists, including textile weavers and designers, wood carvers, graphic designers, fine and creative artists as well as food processors and caterers. At the end of the workshop the participants were awarded certificates.
A similar workshop was held with Liberian artists in April this year on improving, diversifying and pricing their products.