USAID and The Western Union Company have announced the winners of the Libya Diaspora Marketplace (LDM) entrepreneurship competition.
Three winners were selected from more than 20 business plan submissions; industry sectors represented among the winners include agribusiness, information and communications technology and transportation. Each awardee will receive a matching grant between US$25,000 and US$50,000, with accompanying technical assistance.
Launched earlier this year, LDM is one of the few public-private initiatives to harness the knowledge and resources of the U.S.-based North African diaspora to address economic opportunity and advance the ability of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the region to obtain capital. Nine finalists for LDM vied for the top awards, with business plans addressing high priority, high-impact sectors in Libya. Finalists presented plans in sectors such as agribusiness, information and communications technology and business consulting.
Alina Romanowski, USAID’s Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Middle East Bureau, commented:
“The diaspora community not only has a personal commitment to Libya and the region, but also has the networks and an on-the-ground familiarity with the country and Libyan people, making them uniquely positioned to provide insight into development challenges and the possibilities for economic growth opportunities.”
Each winning project will be monitored for a period of up to 11 months, and grant payments will correspond to key milestones identified in the winner's proposal. Entrepreneurs will also have the opportunity to connect with winners of the larger African Diaspora Marketplace initiative, sharing best practices and learning from their experiences.
Barbara Span, Vice President of Public Affairs, Western Union, said:
“We are proud to be a part of the Libya Diaspora Marketplace program and support entrepreneurs as they bring innovative ideas to life that facilitate economic growth and development in North Africa.”
The three winners were:
- Halo Automotive is a manufacturer of top grade after market lighting and cooling products, utilizing the latest in Japanese design and technology. From its establishment, Halo has been committed to manufacturing products designed for today's enthusiast as well as drivers concerned with increased visibility for safe driving and cross country travel. Halo strives to be aware of what today's consumers are seeking in aftermarket lighting & cooling products, and has been working aggressively to do everything it can to satisfy their demands. Halo is constantly working on ways to better improve its products, as well as to develop new innovative and progressive lighting & cooling products.
- Noour Inc specializes in palm tree farming in the desert oasis of southern Algeria and Libya. Noour Inc grows, produces and packages the best grade of organic deglet noour dates that are exported to the Middle East, Europe, South Asia and North America. Noour's main office and packing house is located in Ouargla, Algeria. A new packing house is planned to open in Southern Libya by the end of 2013.
- Rawaabit is a private ISP service provider in Libya that will provide high capacity/low latency, Internet service and applications and hosting services, in and around Libya, to consumers, business, and government users. Rawaabit is currently deploying a mix of wireless technologies to service its customer base in Tripoli, and beyond, with the goal to increase internet access and usage in Libya. RAWAABIT management is made up of former senior executives from the Information Technologies & Communications (ICT) sector with extensive experience on a variety of ‘green-field’ fixed and mobile communication operators in developed and developing countries.
(Sources: USAID, Diaspora Marketplace)
(Entrepreneurship Image via Shutterstock)