Today is a very proud day for Innovation SL and Innovations Axis.
When we started this journey, it was about one thing-creating systemic change in SL by supporting high growth and value creating entrepreneurs. We believed the best way to do this is by enabling an entrepreneurial ecosystem which is crucial to supporting growth entrepreneurs. Since 2017, we have been doing just that.
In July 2019, Isatu Harrison- Izelia came to see me. After 10 mins into the conversation, I asked one simple question- What do you need to realize your dream? She said a space.
In our incubator and accelerator, we have a space. We walked up stairs and she says,”this is exactly what I am looking for”.
We knew in our hearts that with such a space, Izelia would make a transformation. And true to our vision and strategy, we did not hesitate to say to Isatu, we offer you the sapce as part of our incubation and acceleration support.
Today May 11th 2020, she has opened the space with 50 jobs! 50 tailors employed creating garments.
At Innovation SL and Innovations Axis, we are proud. We are proud of Izelia. We believe in her vision, her commitment and her innovative capacity.
We are also proud of all the start-ups under our incubation program- our tech start-ups, our Agri business, our circular economy and fashion and fashion accessories. One that deserves mention is Yembeads, fashion accessories. Yembeads will start to train women with polio in Freetown. Often these women, on their wheelchairs, could be seen begging along the streets of Freetown.
With support from the US Ambassador, we will train 30 of these women in bead-making. They will form part of the supply chain for this start up- Yembeads. I have a personal story that bears on this.
Last November, I was on an Ethiopian Airlines flight and wanted to buy some gifts for my wife and daughter. In the in-flight magazine were lovely beads made by South African grandmothers that were taking care of their grandchildren. Why? The mothers had died of HIV Aids.
Imagine, our start up selling her beads with a similar story- made by women suffering with polio that used to beg along the streets of Freetown.
And through our ecosystem development partners, we will get Yembeads into the airlines flying to and from SL!
Once again, Izelia we are proud of you.