What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?
Funding is always a challenge for small and emerging businesses. Currently, GSG receives funding through contract work and other consultancies. These consultancies include developing comprehensive fundraising and strategic plans with faith-based organizations; developing core competencies and relationship management approaches for non-profit organizations; and working with corporate giants to provide diversity leadership and support in the African context. The challenge and the opportunity is to develop new funding approaches that will allow GSG to scale-up and expand into new and emerging markets that demonstrate future growth and unique potential for branding.
Looking at the long-view, GSG has developed a financial model that we believe will help the company expand and diversify overtime for sustainable growth. For example, GSG, in collaboration with CYV International, is currently applying for funding through the Liberian Enterprise Development Finance Corporation (LEDFC), co-sponsored by RLJ Companies, OPIC and CHF International that will support travel and tourism in Liberia. A 5-year business plan has been prepared to support this work. Travel and Tourism Liberia – TTL customers will pay for travel and tour packages and through relationships already established with Delta Air Lines and local hotels, comprehensive packages will be developed allowing GSG and CYV to scale-up efforts to provide additional jobs for local Liberians and to expand staff support in both office locations.
GSG is teaming-up with colleges and universities and other partners to seek funding for Renewable Energy from entities including the EPA, the Department of Energy, United Negro College Fund, USAID and others to support various program efforts and have secured a pro-bono grant writer to assist.
Tell us about your partnerships
GSG has been very strategic in forging partnerships that have yielded positive and long-lasting results. Training, jobs and internships will be outgrowths of these partnerships.
NGO’s - GSG has established relationships with NCBW-MAC and the Atlanta West End Rotary Club to support the donation of over $10,000 worth of medical supplies to the John F. Kennedy Hospital in Monrovia to support women who have fistula. Improving the quality of life for women and girls is critical to the economic growth of the Liberian society ensuring an educated workforce.
Business: GSG has been able to leverage Delta Air Lines discount airline tickets for various mission trips to Liberia and waived costs of cargo shipping. GSG has been successful in developing relationships with the African Travel Association (ATA) and has landed the 2012 Eco-Tourism Symposia in Liberia bringing hundreds from around the globe to the country; creating jobs and economic stimulus.
Academia: Under the auspices of the UCL umbrella, relationships have been established with Clark Atlanta University, Emory University, Georgia Tech, Morehouse College, the University of Georgia, Georgia State University and others to help further the vision of expanding educational resources, faculty and student exchange programs, joint research and publications at various academic institutions in Liberia.
Government: A recently established partnership with the Georgia Department of Agriculture will enable GSG to further its mission of international business to business matchmaking for companies interested in doing business in Liberia. GSG was instrumental in ushering through a Sister Port Agreement between the Georgia Port Authority and the Port Authority of Liberia in 2010 to increase trade. Jobs for Georgia and jobs for Liberia are expected outcomes.
Explain your selections
Friends and Family have donated time and resources to GSG.
Individuals: GSG has 4 professionals including a Chief of Staff, Government Affairs Officer, Technology Coordinator, and a Media Relations and Communications Manager. An Advisory Group has also been established. These advisors include an Endowed Chair at Georgia Tech in City Planning, a renowned Economist, and a Georgia State University Gender and African American Studies Associate faculty and former Fulbright Fellow at the University of Liberia. Valued at $500,000.
Foundations: The Atlanta West End Rotary Club is supporting GSG through the donation of medical supplies to the JFK Hospital in Monrovia to support women who have fistula valued at $10,000. A $30,000 grant is in the pipeline for funding.
NGOs: The NCBW is supporting GSG by providing discount airline tickets & other resources valued at $50,000.
Businesses: GSG is currently in negotiations with Liberian hotels and Delta Air Lines to promote travel and tourism in Liberia. Conversations have begun with solar panel companies, renewable energy and bio-mass firms.
Regional Government: GSG helped to negotiate a Sister City Agreement between Liberia and Greenville, Mississippi to expand trade and investment. The Mayor of Greenville, Mississippi hosted a trade summit on May 13th for local businesses.
Customers: Over 200 participated in GSG’s travel and tourism efforts over the past few years, including business men and women, educators, clergy, and students bringing over $6million in jobs, training and service activities.
How do you plan to strengthen your project in the next three years?
GSG will strengthen its work over the next three years by shoring up its administrative structure, developing operational systems and processes and preparing a comprehensive financial framework.
GSG is currently negotiating space to house all of its offices including GSG, the Consulate Office, Georgia First and CYV. It will be important to have a strong and visible presence in the community demonstrating leadership and vision as well as stability. As the financial resources are established, staff will be hired to help accomplish the goals and objectives of the operations.
Developing operational systems and processes is fundamental to the growth and sustainability of any company. Within the next year, operational manuals, standard business blueprints including Contracts, Memorandums of Agreement, Letters of Interest, and other Business Documents will be developed as boilerplates to help streamline operations and to help expedite work flows. A secure and reliable technology system will be put forth to capture data allowing for accurate tracking and reporting.
In order to ensure future growth and sustainability, additional comprehensive financial platforms will need to be created and put in place.
GSG will work with investors, financial institutions and resource and development and management strategy teams, to develop and implement appropriate frameworks for long-term success.