Washington, DC — USAID and The Western Union Company today announced the winners of the Libya Diaspora Marketplace (LDM) entrepreneurship competition. 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, LDM is one of the few public-private initiatives to harness the knowledge and resources of the U.S.-based North African diaspora to address economic opportunity and advance the ability of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the region to obtain capital. Nine finalists for LDM 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, 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, Western Union.
To view a full list of winners and additional information about the Libya Diaspora Marketplace, please visit http://www.diasporamarketplace.org/african-diaspora-marketplace-awardees