Three winners were selected from more than 20 business plan submissions; industry sectors represented among the winners include agribusiness, information and communications, technology, and transportation. Each awardee will receive a matching grant between US$25,000 and US$50,000 with accompanying technical assistance.
Launched earlier this year, the Libya Diaspora Marketplace (LDM) is one of the only public-private initiatives to harness the knowledge and resources of the U.S.-based North African diaspora to address economic opportunity and help enable small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the region obtain financing. Nine LDM finalists vied for the top awards, with business plans addressing high priority, high-impact sectors in Libya. Finalists presented plans in sectors such as agribusiness, information and communications technology, and business consulting.
Alina Romanowski, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Middle East Bureau, commented, “The diaspora community not only has a personal commitment to Libya and the region, but also has the networks and an on-the-ground familiarity with the country and Libyan people, making them uniquely positioned to provide insight into development challenges and the possibilities for economic growth opportunities.”
Each winning project will be monitored for a period of up to 11 months, and grant payments will correspond to key milestones identified in the winner’s proposal. Entrepreneurs will also have the opportunity to connect with winners of the larger African Diaspora Marketplace initiative, sharing best practices and learning from their experiences.
“We are proud to be a part of the Libya Diaspora Marketplace program and support entrepreneurs as they bring innovative ideas to life that facilitate economic growth and development in North Africa,” said Barbara Span, Vice President of Public Affairs for Western Union.
The three winning companies of the 2013 LDM are:
- Halo Automotive, a manufacturer of top grade after market lighting and cooling products, utilizing the latest in Japanese design and technology. From its establishment, Halo has been committed to manufacturing products designed for today’s enthusiast as well as drivers concerned with increased visibility for safe driving and cross country travel.
- Noour, Inc., which specializes in palm tree farming in the desert oasis of southern Algeria and Libya. Noour, Inc. grows, produces and packages organic deglet noour dates that are exported to the Middle East, Europe, South Asia, and North America. The company’s main office and packing house are located in Ouargla, Algeria, and it is gearing up to open a new packing house in southern Libya by the end of 2013.
- Rawaabit, a private ISP service provider in Libya that will offer high capacity/low latency, Internet service and applications, and hosting services in and around Libya to consumers, business, and government users. Rawaabit is currently deploying a mix of wireless technologies to service its customer base in Tripoli and beyond with the goal to increase internet access and usage in Libya.
For additional information about the Libya Diaspora Marketplace, please click here.