The African Leadership Magazine is expected to present on June 14, 2018 one of its prestigious awards, the African Female Business Leadership Excellence Award to one of Liberia’s female productive entrepreneurs, Ms. Leelai M. Kpukuyou who is also the Chief Executive Officer of the Mini Mall Incorporated in Monrovia, Liberia. This program is expected to be held in at the Hilton Park Lane. Mayfair London.
A Brief Profile Of Ms. Leelai M. Kpukuyou
As an actor in Liberia’s post-war economic recovery, Leelai is one of Liberia’s and West Africa’s rising prominent entrepreneurs with key focus on international trade and development.
Leelai has keen sense and ground knowledge on the day-to-day business environment of Liberia in all sectors. Due to her consistent work and tireless innovation rooted in trust, she has developed credible links with diverse business actors in the MRU (Mano River Union), ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) and other parts of Africa.
Leelai is a strong advocate for youth and women empowerment through entrepreneurship with clear focus on private sector development, developing suitable environment, strategy for international investors in Liberia and encouraging the international increase in trade and commerce in Liberia
She is the Secretary-General (SG) of the Liberian Business Association (LIBA), from 2011 to present, the CEO of Mini Mall Enterprise, Inc. and Board Chair of Sanoyea Realty Incorporated, a sister company to Mini Mall Enterprise, Inc.
Mini Mall Enterprise Inc and Sanoyea Realty Inc. are Liberian owned companies with a 21st century model of doing sustainable, people centred, trusted innovation solutions in Real estate, Petroleum Supply, Retail stores, General merchandise as well as business consultation. Currently she is looking to adding to her business portfolio, Technology and Tourism.
As CEO of Mini Mall Enterprise Inc., Leelai initiated a commission-based distribution model, where more than forty women and youths who are mainly high school dropouts, teen-aged mothers, ex-child soldiers from the Liberian civil war were supplied various goods on credit to sell and pay the cost of the goods while retaining the profit. Today, more than 75% of these disadvantaged Liberians are now self-employed and some have diversified into commercial transport (motorbike), shop owners, cross border traders, etc.
At the Liberian Business Association (LIBA), Leelai is also responsible for Youth and Women Empowerment through Entrepreneurship. She visits various universities and business training institutions of higher learning to share with business students her experiences and encourage the spirit of wealth creation by starting their own business rather than seeking jobs that are already scarce.
Leading to Liberia’s 2017 general and Presidential elections, Leelai served as Guest Speaker on Election and Peace for the Girls Peace Summit at the U.S. Embassy in Liberia. The forum was intended to awaken the consciousness of young women from across Liberia on election and peace.
Leelai served as one of the Mentors for the Goldman Sachs sponsored CHF 10,000 Women Certificate Program for Women Entrepreneurship (CPWE) in Liberia from 2010 – 2014.
As an Advocate, Leelai was instrumental in negotiations with the Central Bank of Liberia which resulted to US$5 million stimulus package provided to Liberian owned-businesses. This facility provided easy access to finance through selected commercial banks to hundreds of Liberian-owned businesses covering low interest rate and longer term repayment period (2013-2018).
Leelai has been in the forefront of constructive engagements with the Liberian Government to create the enabling environment for Liberian-owned businesses to thrive and make significant impact in Liberia’s economic development. One of the notable outcomes of these engagements is:
A MoU signed between the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Liberian Business Association to collaborate in capacity building programs for Liberian-owned SMEs, implementation of the Small Business Empowerment Law of 2014, which allows for 25% of procurement by the Government of Liberia Ministries, Agencies and Commissions, to be awarded to Liberian-owned businesses.
During the 2017 electioneering process in Liberia, Leelai undertook a series of campaigns at several Liberian-owned business premises and some local markets in Monrovia to engage with Liberian business women on the need to demonstrate peaceful posture during and after the elections.
Through her strong passion for development of the domestic private sector, Leelai has worked with several stakeholders, locally and internationally.
Led Liberia private sector delegation to London along with the Government of Liberia delegation, to participate in a UK-Liberia Partnership dialog – focusing on investing in infrastructure, energy and agriculture in Liberia.
Represents LIBA at the UNDP and UNMIL round-table with Stakeholders in Liberia,
One of the main actors to formulate legislation to regulate food and establish an effective standard authority to govern consumer products,
Led LIBA delegation to participate in Improved Business and Investment Climate in Africa Conference. Sponsored by European Union and implemented by the World Bank in Lagos, Nigeria,
Served as co-panelist at the UNMIL Entrepreneur Fair intended to transition UNMIL employees into the private sector,
Participated in discussion on Trade Facilitation Agreement of the WTO that led to Liberia’s accession to the WTO in 2016 and IMF annual meeting in Washington, DC,
Participated in ILO conference in Geneva, Switzerland and the United Nations High Level Panel, on post 2015 Millennium Development Goal Meeting in 2013 in Monrovia, Liberia.
In 2014, Leelai was humbled to have accommodated in one of her properties some of the first ECOWAS Multinational Medical Doctors who helped in the fight against the deadly Ebola Virus in Liberia.
See below the communication from the organizers of the Award: