Deadline of March 8, 2023 | The Sierra Leone Economic Diversification Project 2023
The Sierra Leone Economic Diversification Project is being carried out by the World Bank and the Sierra Leonean government (SLEDP). The Project Development Objective (PDO) is to boost small and medium-sized businesses’ growth and investment in productive industries other than mining. The project will achieve this by fostering strategic public investments to increase competitiveness and investments, enhancing the business-enabling environment, assisting SMEs and entrepreneurs, and increasing the capacity of public institutions and private sector operators.
By addressing significant firm- and sector-level constraints, Project Component 2 seeks to promote SME growth and entrepreneurship in high-growth productive sectors.
- poor last-mile infrastructure,
- limited access to finance,
- a lackluster ability to scale businesses, and
- poor information access.
Investment in public goods, the acceleration of SME development, and early-stage funding are specific actions taken in this component to address these issues. According to its PDO, the Project acknowledged that business incubation and acceleration programs are essential supports for SMEs and start-ups as they grow, and studies have shown that incubated businesses have a greater survival rate than other businesses.
It has been demonstrated that company acceleration and incubation programs assist SMEs foster the connections and partnerships they require to succeed.
In this context, the Project and SMEDA are launching this call for applications through Sensi Tech Hub for SMEs in the tourism and digital tech sectors to help improve the SME ecosystem and support business resilience in Sierra Leone. In the program, to accelerate
The program will support 20 SMEs nationwide that are involved in the before mentioned industries. Applications from women-owned and operated enterprises are especially encouraged.
The calls for applications’ purpose
- With technical assistance and grant funding that supports their growth, expansion, and capacity to create jobs that contribute to the Project’s development goals, this call for applications seeks to build the capacities of selected smes. Building the resilience of businesses to face economic challenges will also be a key component.
- The program will be put into action in two stages:
- Through BDS training, coaching, mentoring, peer learning, networking, and linkage building, a first phase (8 months) will focus on business diagnosis, formalization, business model development, customer traction, and investment readiness. A second phase (6 months) of matching-grant competition, award, and implementation will follow (with a phased, performance based, disbursement)
Who may apply and the requirements
All businesses operating in the tourism and digital technology sectors in Sierra Leone are eligible to submit a proposal.
Potential SMEs must fulfill the following requirements in order to be eligible:
- Those who have long-standing businesses, such as those that have been in operation for at least five years.
- In order to qualify as SMEs, they must also meet the requirements of the SMEDA Act 2016, which states that a “medium enterprise” is defined as an enterprise with an annual turnover between 20,000 USD and not more than 100,000 USD (equivalent in leones at the current Leone/USD rate). In such circumstances, SLEDP will see a realistic growth and potential for private sector investment.
- SMEs with a revenue of up to $500 000 USD (or the equivalent in leones at the current Leone/USD rate) would be considered for financing under this Project following approval by the SLEDP Advisory Committee.
- They must be citizens of Sierra Leone, registered there, and in good financial standing.
The following are the main SMEs selection criteria:
(A) the operational, financial, and market standings of SMEs today.
(b) The potential demand for their products, taking into account the priority market segments that have already been identified;
(c) Market competitiveness based on differentiation, cost, and/or focus;
(d) The viability of technical interventions for advancing the growth of the business; and
(e) The business’s financial and technical viability.
The precise selection criteria for the participating SMEs will be based on the market opportunity, track record of success, growth potential, results of the entrepreneurial potential assessment, and in-person interviews.
- The project can contribute up to 50% for SMEs due to the 50:50 matching ratio for SMEs.
- The matching contributions from SMEs may include both monetary and in-kind contributions. Up to 50% of the matching contributions may be in-kind.
- Staff time and financial investments made to support tangible and intangible assets within the year prior to the matching grant’s approval are examples of in-kind contributions.
- The Accelerator/Incubator will verify and value the evidence of in-kind contributions, which will involve checking things like the SME’s actual asset ownership, the date of purchase, bank statements or other proof of the asset or service’s purchase, pay-roll records, etc.
Grants for the following activities will not be provided through Technical Assistance or the Matching Grant: Production of alcoholic beverages Weapons Tobacco Gambling All World Bank-funded projects.
WHERE TO APPLY
Application guidelines for the business support program for small and medium-sized businesses:
- On the Sensi website, at https://sensi-sl.org/apply, interested parties should submit a complete proposal application form.
- Complete the application and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Business Support application for SMEs” after downloading it from the project website (sensi-sl.org/apply).
- Interested parties can download the application from the project website (sensi-sl.org/apply) and turn it in at the Sensi headquarters at 31B Spur Road. Sierra Leone’s Freetown.
- Interested parties may also pick up the hard copies at our office, located at 31B Spur Road. Sierra Leone’s Freetown.
- The form must be completed and submitted by the deadline of March 8, 2023, at 5:00 p.m., or earlier.
- To give us time to help with any technical issues, please submit the application as soon as possible.
- Applications that are only partially completed will not be accepted.
- Please contact us by email at email@example.com, by phone at +23279364008, or by chatting with us on the project website (sensi-sl.org/apply) if you are having problems accessing or using the form.
Application submission deadline: March 8, 2023
How Your Application For The Sierra Leone Economic Diversification Project 2023 Will Be Judged
Answers to a questionnaire written to evaluate entrepreneurial qualities and business potential.
a) Evaluation of the potential market for their products, taking into account various market segments and matching the market segment of the company with the cohort as a whole.
b) Market competition based on focus, cost, and/or differentiation.
c) The detection of specific operational, financial, or technical growth bottlenecks and the potential for workable interventions to address them.
d) The viability of the presented technical and financial business plans.
e) Potential “spill over” effects into other industries, like fishing or agro-business, or bettering living conditions for neighborhood communities;
f) Inclusivity for women and taking special needs for people with disabilities into account
g) Incorporating or adapting climate-smart or climate-resilient practices into operations or design.
To apply for The Sierra Leone Economic Diversification Project 2023, Click Here
To verify application information. The Service Provider, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency, and Project Coordinating Unit. Will visit 100% of all applicants who meet the minimum requirement.
We Encourage women with businesses to apply.
SMALL MEDIUM ENTREPRENEURSHIP APPLICATIONS ARE NOW BEING ACCEPTED UNDER THE PROJECT FOR ECONOMIC DIVERSIFICATION OF SIERRA LEONE. (The Sierra Leone Economic Diversification Project 2023)