The maiden edition of the Sierra Leone Diaspora Investment Conference was held on Saturday, October 7, 2023, at the Metro Hotel in Maryland. Themed “Harnessing Diaspora Entrepreneurship, Impact, and Direct Investment,” over 200 Sierra Leonean entrepreneurs and investors convened for a one-day hybrid summit that focused on conversations about the various aspects of doing business in Sierra Leone, exploring both the challenges and opportunities.
During her address, Vickie Remoe, the curator of this remarkable event, shared insights about Sierra Leone, likening it to a place facing challenges. She spoke of her own journey as a creative entrepreneur, navigating the divide between her presence in the country and her connection to another place.
“I understand that this is a business conference, and our aim is to promote Sierra Leone. However, it’s essential to acknowledge that the country faces significant challenges. Many of our people lack access to basic necessities such as clean water, three meals a day, or electricity,” said Remoe.
The conference featured a diverse array of creative minds from various sectors as panelists, including the Minister of Trade, Ibrahim Alpha Sesay, Edleen Elba, Dr. Fouad Sheriff, Dori Turay, Franklin Ibemese, Dr. Susan Shepler and among others. Ibrahim Cole, the Managing Director of LeonOil, delivered the keynote address, sharing his insights on doing business in Sierra Leone and reflecting on his personal experiences when he relocated back home.
Here are some of the lessons learned from the event:
- Engaging in business with a focus on making a positive impact, such as solving problems, will ultimately lead to increased income over time.
- The qualifications of job seekers should not be solely judged based on their CVs or prior experience.
- When embarking on a business venture, it’s crucial to identify your target customers and competitors. Also, starting small allows you to discover your strengths and what you can excel at.
- Members of the diaspora should play an active and steadfast role in the development of Africa.
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