NEW YORK, Sept. 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group and Virgin Unite, and philanthropist Pam Omidyar, founder of Humanity United, today announced a partnership between their respective foundations that will prepare Liberian entrepreneurs for success in the international marketplace.
The new program, supported by both foundations, will provide select Liberian business owners with intensive coaching, goal setting and skills development training at the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship in South Africa. The Branson Centre is well known for providing entrepreneurial training as a way of stimulating economic growth, creating jobs and reducing poverty. Entrepreneurs will also receive ongoing support and coaching from advisors and mentors back home in Liberia.
Upon completion of the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship Pilot Program, participants will have developed an investment-ready business plan, which they can then pitch to both national and international investors.
"Liberia is emerging from two decades of conflict, and now is the time to support enterprise and encourage innovation in the country," Sir Richard said. "Entrepreneurship is vital to job creation and economic growth and will help to underpin Liberia's future."
The first group of 10-15 entrepreneurs will be selected in early 2014 by a panel of representatives from the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship in South Africa and representatives from Liberian organizations working on economic development in the region.
The curriculum, which includes in-depth training on leadership, accounting, finance, marketing and technology, was developed in conjunction with existing entrepreneurship programs in Liberia to ensure that it does not duplicate existing resources.
The program is meant not only to bolster business in the once volatile nation, but also act as a mechanism for keeping peace.
"Liberians are rebuilding their country through the hard work of good governance, a robust civil society, and expansion of entrepreneurship opportunities," Omidyar said. "I'm personally inspired by Liberia's commitment to peace and economic development, and I hope philanthropy also helps enable these efforts. I'm delighted to partner with Richard, who is one of the world's great entrepreneurs and a visionary thinker."
Omidyar and Sir Richard announced the partnership in New York City during the annual Liberia Foundations Meeting, a gathering of organizations dedicated to collaborating across sectors to spur development and innovation in the country.
About Humanity United
Humanity United is a U.S.-based foundation dedicated to building peace and advancing human freedom. At home and in the corners of the globe where these ideals are challenged most, we lead and support efforts to lift up the voices and will of people, ensure good governance and the rule of law, engage markets and business as a force for change, and encourage the exploration of promising ideas and innovations to end conflict and slavery—all with the belief that everyone has the right to a life that is peaceful and free. Learn more at HumanityUnited.org. Humanity United is part of The Omidyar Group: www.omidyargroup.com.
About Virgin Unite
Virgin Unite is the non-profit foundation of the Virgin Group. We believe business can and must be a force for good in the world – and that this is also good for business. In this spirit, we unite great people and entrepreneurial ideas, reinventing how we live and work to make people's lives better. We also incubate new approaches to leadership including the Elders, the Carbon War Room, the Centres of Entrepreneurship, and the B Team. Virgin Unite's overheads are covered by Sir Richard Branson and the Virgin Group, meaning that 100% of donations received go directly to the frontline where they are needed most. Join us at www.virginunite.com, follow us @virginunite and like us at facebook/virginunite.
SOURCE Humanity United