Fashion is an integral part of the creative industries. These so-called “creative industries”, i.e. fashion, African music, dance, TV and cuisine, can earn billions of dollars for African countries and create jobs for our growing workforce. Creative industries can diversify the economic base of Sierra Leone and attract tourism. This is in line with the New Direction of the current government under HE President Julius Maada Bio.
Currently, The fashion industry in SierraLeone is facing a number of challenges namely: first, the sector depends on low skilled labour in handling the varieties of fabrics and complicated sewing operations with poor labour conditions. Second, the sector is poorly managed and under-capitalized and depends mostly on local production shops. There is currently only one factory producing uniforms for the military and police officers in Sierra Leone. Third, the sector is constantly under price pressure from the import of second hand clothing from overseas and lastly, the sector is facing high competition from manufacturers in neighboring countries.
A number of these challenges are making it difficult to tap into the huge potential of the industry in Sierra Leone and its contribution towards regional and global supply chains in the industry.
The current field research is aimed at getting insight into the trends, polices, structure, stakeholders and market potential in the industry.
In this research we will contact stakeholders in the sector and map out the bottlenecks and outline different pathway for innovation that will bring new energy and vigor that will contribute to a more robust, profitable and sustainable industry. The research outcome will be used to map gaps in the sector and to design a profitable business plan to support the industry. The result will be presented in a special seminar in September, 2018.
Background information about SEP initiator
SEP investment Services is a social enterprise registered in Sierra Leone. The company is passionate about harnessing and redirecting the mindset of Sierra Leoneans to perceive business as a career pathway through our usual on-campus and off-campus training, coaching activities, and lobbying for start-up financial support.
Our mission is to set up a competitive platform of high value SMEs enterprises in the ITC, Agribusiness and Fashion sectors that will contribute to employment creation and economic development of Sierra Leone.
Over the years SEP investment Services and her partners have identified, selected and trained around 100 youths in Sierra Leone who are into business or who have business passion from the universities and the business community. These youths have got the tools to go into business, they have written their business plans according to their preference, experience, skills and ability, awaiting start-up funds. The SEP team is currently organizing a follow up to strengthen the business capabilities of a number of business owners that participated in these trainings.
SEP’s current ambition is to actively contribute to developing of highly valued and profitable fashion industry in the country through providing expertise, network and micro credit opportunity to a number of businesses in the sector value chain. The company currently owns a tailoring institute at Rokel and is poised to construct and develop a profitable tailoring and soap making factory in Sierra Leone to produce clothing and other items for the local market in an innovative and sustainable way. This aspiration was presented to board members by the company’s CEO during a workshop on Sunday 23rd July 2017 at Estuary Resort, John Obey along the Freetown Peninsular. To achieve this, the SEP team will conduct feasibility research to get better insight into the sector. Below is a brief background of the sector, the research objective and the proposed methodology.