Elba (SL) Ltd Engages Women During a ‘Breakfast with Women in Business’ Event

On Friday 31st March, 2023, Elba (SL) Ltd, through its Business Connective initiative, gathered 95 women together to learn, share and connect at its ‘Breakfast with Women in Business’ event held at New Brookfields Hotel in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

SMEs in Sierra Leone are facing growth challenges, which include low access to information, limited access to finance, high taxes and cost of employment and difficulty in sourcing raw materials. In addition, women business owners sometimes face discrimination, marginalisation and sexual harassment. Despite this, they trudge along, making the most of what they have and using their small networks to stay afloat.

Elba (SL) Ltd, a multi-sector investment company, which was registered in Sierra Leone in 2020, focuses on MSME growth through compliance, by providing Compliance Advisory and Management services, as well as relevant skills development programmes for business owners and their employees. It also manages business events from conception to completion. Through its Business Connect initiative, Elba (SL) Ltd hosts networking and learning events, including Payroll Management, NASSIT, NRA and Employment related training events. Its Better Business initiative is used to ensure that business owners do better business by having access to relevant and timely information.

The event, which was a nice blend of serious discussions, fun and music, commenced with prayers delivered in a unique manner with Whitney Houston’s ‘I love the Lord’ playing in the background.

In her opening statement, the Managing Director of Elba (SL) Ltd, Ms. Edleen Elba stated that the objectives of bringing the women together were to introduce Elba’s upcoming business growth offerings – a database of service providers, a space where products and services by Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad can be found and a repository of laws, policies, regulations and other information relevant to doing business in Sierra Leone – to inspire guests by showing them what others are doing, to meet and network with other amazing women in business and to discuss how women can grow their businesses through intentional collaboration.

During the sumptuous breakfast, guests watched a short film produced through Elba’s Better Business initiative, which featured Founders of Susue Finance, Susue Chilli Oils and Susue Pemahun – Ms. Naasu Fofanah, Arch Designs – Mrs. Kathleen Jah Davies and Little Lamb, Mrs. Andrea Koroma. Guests were inspired by the drive, passion and ambition of these three female entrepreneurs. Naasu Fofanah was invited to speak to guests about developments that followed the filming of the feature, which included collaboration with Sierra Leone Commercial Bank to open its first women’s banking unit.

To discuss collaboration, guests were asked to answer four questions revolving around intentionally working together to raise finance for bid or growth opportunities, effectively sharing lessons learned, using digital tools for better collaboration and ensuring their collective voices are heard in policy, law and regulation development and review. Some practical solutions were shared, which will be followed up on.

In her keynote address, Gender and Peace Activist, Dr. Nana Pratt, talked about her experience as a business person and shared some of the lessons she learned. She also encouraged women to work together to occupy the spaces they wanted to.

The event closed with guests introducing women-owned businesses to each other by presenting them with gifts made or sold by them.

Guests expressed their appreciation and called for more regular meetings of this nature. They described the event as being unique, amazing and inspiring. It was the perfect close to Women’s Month.


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