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Thursday, 24 March 2011 13:31

IFC Commemorates IWD with Women in Business

By Rachel Horner

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, March 24, 2011 (Concord Times) — The International Finance Cooperation (IFC) yesterday held an International Women's Day (IWD) lunch for women in business at Country Lodge in Freetown.


In her opening remarks, IFC resident representative Mary Agboli said the institution was providing financing to help businesses employ more people and supply essential services, by mobilizing capital from others and delivering advisory services to ensure sustainable development.


She said IFC has recognized that aspiring businesswomen were often prevented from realizing their economic potential, noting that the institution was committed to creating opportunities for women in business.


IFC's Women in Business (WIN) program (formerly known as Gender Entrepreneurship Markets) aims to mainstream gender issues into IFC's work, while helping to better leverage the untapped potential of women as well as men in emerging markets.


Ms. Agboli said the cooperation provides financial products and advisory services to increase access to finance for women entrepreneurs, reduce gender-based barriers in the business environment and improve the sustainability of IFC investment projects.


Deputy Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone, Adrina Coker - who was speaking on the themed, "Tips on Being a Successful Entrepreneur in Sierra Leone", said the reason for most businesses not being sustainable was because such businesses were not set up to be so, noting that at the retirement or death of the founder/owner, they died with them.


She said most people set up business to make money, keep themselves occupied and to use their unique talent or skills. "These businesses are either sole proprietorship or family business and can only continue if the children or heirs are interested in keeping the business," she said.

"A sustainable business is one that grows, opens branches and continues to exist irrespective of whether the founder is around or not."


Mrs. Coker said a business must be structured to ensure continuity and have a business plan with projections (cash flow, profit etc), keeping proper records and accounts, hiring professional and qualified staff.


She said the private sector in any economy is important for growth, as they provide employment and pay taxes, stressing that for private sector to be effective it must have expanding and sustainable business.


Mrs. Cole of The KidZone urged her colleagues to think of how to improve themselves. "Do something different and think out of the box," she called.


Ayodele Wak-Williams of DEL-WAK Agencies said public and private businesses should be partners in development as there are lots of challenges. She encouraged women to be innovative and don't be afraid of the men.

The lunch ended with a discussion on how to be sustainable and how to get a network. (END/2011)


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