A Refugee and Entrepreneur

Keffa Bua Eloi fled the Ivory Coast several years ago to escape from civil war and instability. As an Ivorian refugee in Liberia he had to find means to support himself. Mr. Eloi wanted to buy his own enterprise to the process Attieke, fermented cassava pulp, but did not know how to obtain the necessary financing.

IESC provided Mr. Eloi with technical assistance and training through the USAID-funded Liberia Investing in Business Expansion (IBEX) Program. The IBEX Program, implemented under the Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA), seeks to encourage lending to renewable energy and agribusiness borrowers, with a specific focus on small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The program provides small business owners and entrepreneurs with technical assistance and access to finance trainings that teach valuable lessons in business plan writing, management and finance.

When Mr. Eloi was ready to apply for a loan, he provided the loan officer with all the required application documents. ‘For me, I was ready on the day I met the loan officer because IBEX showed and told me everything I needed to know and do about getting a loan. I had no fear or doubt when I met the loan officer. At last, the bank called and told me that our loan was ready,’ Mr. Eloi said.

Mr. Eloi believes his enterprise has improved dramatically thanks to the loan. He used the loan to buy equipment including a commercial grinding machine and a motorcycle, which has increased the production. ‘Today, our production brings us a good sum of money, and our motorcycle gets our products to customers safely and on time. This has helped us greatly to forecast the payment of our loan a week earlier than the due time,’ he said.