Scaling the Solution: How do you intend to scale your activities over the next two years (e.g., reach new markets, diversify solutions, etc.)? What will make this possible?
On the production side, palm kernels are widely available throughout Liberia, as an estimated 90% of Liberia's palm kernels go to waste. Thus, with the right technology, we will be able to produce at full capacity.
On the demand side, the resurgence of Liberia's cosmetics manufacturing sector (particularly laundry and beauty soaps) will continue to fuel demand for palm kernel oil. Furthermore, demand in the West African sub-region is estimated at approximately 55000 tons per annum, and is currently being met through imports.
With these favorable supply- and demand-side factors, our plan is to develop a robust network of local and regional sales agents who will market and distribute the products directly to the customers.
Financial Sustainability: What is your business model to ensure financial sustainability?
Our business model is straightforward: Purchase palm kernels from smallholder farmers, use palm kernel screw press to produce palm kernel oil, and market the oil to customers (primarily soap manufacturers). Our estimated profit margin is 44%, which is highly above average, and will allow us ample fiscal space to expand the business to all of Liberia's 15 counties, creating more jobs for youth and increasing incomes for more rural farmers.
Experience: Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.
In 2010, I founded the iMHere! Project, which provided full-tuition academic scholarships and mentorship to 23 young men from low-income communities in Monrovia, Liberia.
In 2012, I founded the iTeach, iLearn Fellowship, which mentors top-performing Liberian high school students to apply to U. S. colleges, and tutors them for the SATs (URL: www.iteachliberia.org).
Currently, I am CEO of J-Palm Liberia Ltd, an oil palm production company.