Sierra Leone Economic Diversification Project- SLEDP

Innovation SL has been selected by SLEDP and the Ministry of Finance to Deliver Incubation and Acceleration Business Development Services to 10 SMEs and 20 Start-Ups (30 companies) under SLEDP.

The Sierra Leone Economic Diversification Project (SLEDP) is World Bank funded, is designed to support the growth of SMEs and Entrepreneurs in sierra Leone with the aim of enhancing domestic and international investment and increased revenue from non-mining sectors.

The Project Development Objective is to increase investment and growth of small and medium enterprises in non-mining productive sectors.  

The SLEDP addresses three key constraints of (i) weak governance and burdensome regulation; (ii) poor entrepreneurship ecosystem and low skills based; and (iii) low-quality infrastructure, and addresses these constraints with the following solutions: business environment reforms; SME and entrepreneurship support, public goods investments and public sector capacity building.

The primary beneficiaries of this project will be Sierra Leonean growth-oriented SMEs, entrepreneurs,  organizations, financial institutions, and investors, in addition to line agencies and entrepreneurship institutions whose capacity to execute their sub-programs will be strengthened. The project will put a particular focus on women-owned and led businesses and look to encourage female entrepreneurship. One measure of success:  Number of new entrepreneurs, and participation rates in project supported activities (e.g. hackathons).

Component 2 SMEs and Entrepreneurship: The objective of this component is to facilitate SME growth and stimulate entrepreneurship in high-growth productive sectors by addressing critical firm-level and sector-level constraints. •The objective of this component is to facilitate SME growth and stimulate entrepreneurship in high-growth productive sectors by addressing critical firm-level and sector-level constraints.

Current challenges to SME growth in Sierra Leone include (i) low access to information (ii) poor infrastructure (ii) limited access to finance, (iii) weak capacity to scale businesses, and (iv) vulnerability to climate change. These are constraints that disproportionately impact women entrepreneurs.

Investments will be implemented through two sub-components to address these challenges, SME and start-up acceleration, and early-stage financing. These project interventions and investments will aim whenever possible to improve resilience of SMEs.

This sub-component will strengthen the overall emerging entrepreneurship ecosystem in Sierra Leone, and to provide financial and non-financial support to entrepreneurs (start-ups) and SMEs, through the following activities:  

Supporting the Entrepreneurship Ecosystem by identifying and supporting local institutions that support entrepreneurship and expand their capacities. This will include capacity-building, technical assistance, small grants to improve physical spaces and financial support to promote entrepreneurship. 10-12 institutions are expected to be competitively selected and supported over the project life.

Supporting Start-Ups and SMEs. Entrepreneurs that have advanced initial business ideas will be provided technical assistance through existing incubators and accelerators who will be competitively hired by the Project for this purpose. Sub-grants will be available to finance sub-projects that align with the TA support being offered.

Leveraging additional private investment. This activity will seek to leverage additional private investments for SMEs through investing or co-investing in growth-oriented SMEs and entrepreneurs.