In the next couple of weeks Sensi Tech will be running a series of blogs profiling grantees on our Firestarter grants program which has funded and supported 15 entrepreneurship ventures in the last year with a total of £167,000. The program is funded by Comic Relief in the UK and offers grants ranging from £1,000 to £10,000 as part of a 2 years business incubation/acceleration program. The program aims to support entrepreneurship and social impact ventures with a key drive to create job and training opportunities especially for young people in Sierra Leone. The first grantees to be featured on our blog is Human Capital Institute Sierra Leone (HCI-SL) which was awarded £5,000 and have already the first trench of the grant in the first year valued at £2,500.

For a long time, the rhetoric that there is a lack of skilled and qualified Sierra Leonean professionals has placed local professionals at disadvantage and deprived businesses and organizations of talented, skilled and qualified Sierra Leonean professionals in the job market. A key reason for this is not availability but due to access caused by gaps in communication between employers and potential applicants, and the preparation of applicants to be suitable and job ready. HCI-SL is working to bridge the communication gaps that have long existed between employers and potential applicants as well as train and screen potential applicants to ensure they’re suitable and job ready.

So what is HCI-SL?

HCI-SL serves as a platform for human capital development with the goal of reducing unemployment by inspiring and empowering young job seekers or new entrants into the job market, experienced professionals, and entrepreneurs alike. HCI-SL achieves this by promoting opportunities for professional and entrepreneurial growth by opening doors into the job market through training/retraining, coaching, mentoring and appropriate placement using its vast networks and strategic alliances with institutions and organizations in Sierra Leone and internationally. Specifically, HCI-SL target mid-level professionals with formal or informal training as well as new graduates and young professionals and provide them with formal qualifications, certification, and labor-market skills. HCI-SL also offers professional subscription, new businesses set-up facilitation, HR audit, restructuring, recruitment and staff procurement services for agencies/businesses.

A key component of HCI-SL that separates it from similar organizations comes from its M&E operations which are based on the foundation of effective service delivery that can be best ensured through sound monitoring of the implementation process, appropriate evaluation of outcomes, and careful assessment of benefits to beneficiaries – individuals, communities and society at large. Through its website and social media platform (please see below for more details), HCI-SL provides links and access to new graduates and professionals for employers and access to job opportunities for new graduates and professionals with outstanding M&E credentials in diverse fields including human services (including health and education), infrastructure, social services and private business entrepreneurship. In addition, HCI-SL offer services in programme/project planning, development and management; presentation, writing and reporting (brochures, fact sheets, technical memoranda, and full evaluation reports).