IT Liberia competition: opening a new frontier for Liberia’s entrepreneurs

Business Startup Centre Monrovia launches the IT Liberia Competition to promote and enhance innovative business ideas and IT infrastructure in Liberia.

November 3, 2011 – this was the epoch of internet advancement in Liberia. Until this point, access to the internet in the country had been extremely costly and limited, marred by poor connections. It was in early November of 2011 when a fibre-optic cable was hauled ashore by a diver on a beach outside Monrovia, greeted by an eager crowd. This two inch thick cable, emerging from the ocean, was to be the advent of digital entrepreneurship in Liberia.

In the past nine years, Liberia has made considerable progress. The country has exhibited strong economic growth, a trend that looks set to continue in 2013, with expected growth higher than many counterparts in Asia, Europe or the Americas. The country’s advance on the international stage has not gone unnoticed, with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee, comprising two of the three Nobel Peace Prize winners in 2011.

While the technology has arrived, the infrastructure and innovation is improving gradually. One of the primary goals of the newly launched IT Liberia Competition, organised by BSC Monrovia, is to assist and facilitate progress in these areas. Through inducing innovative online business endeavours, the competition aims to make the internet a key resource for Liberians. The World Bank in 2010 noted only 7% of the Liberian population used the internet, slightly below the regional average, a figure that is expected to increase significantly in the coming years.

IT Liberia will increase internet usage, innovation, and entrepreneurship in Liberia through inspirational workshops, training sessions and coaching. These will ultimately increase IT awareness and the business skills available to aspiring entrepreneurs in Liberia.  The competition – organised by Business Startup Centre Monrovia and supported by Lonestar Cell MTN (one of the companies involved in bringing the fibre-optic connection to Liberia), iLab, University of Liberia, SPARK and BiD Network – is expected to garner considerable interest.

The competition will offer participants exposure to investors, as well as the benefits of BiD Networks’ matchmaking services. Furthermore, winners of the competition can expect finance of up to US$5,000. The finance offered in this competition will induce startups and their growth.

Potential competitors have until June 30, 2013 to submit their application. If you’re interested in IT, or have an IT business idea, enter the competition and plug into the possibilities.