By Alieu Jallow, 1 year ago.
Entrepreneurship in today's world is not only about coming up with a business and making a profit at the end of the day. But in modern entrepreneurship, it is more about solving a current or foreseen problem and transforming people's lives. In the Gambia, there is an emerging generation of entrepreneurs that, if realised, could have a massive impact on the economic growth of the country. There is a limited number of employment opportunities in the public sector in the Gambia, and many of these youth are turning to MSMEs for gainful employment. The MSME contributes to 20% of the GDP of the Gambia. However, with the predominantly youthful and middle-aged entrepreneurial ecosystem, a study found that only 34% of enterprise owners have gone through formal business training. In this regard, START-UP INCUBATOR GAMBIA has come to fill in the gaps and provide entrepreneurs with the prerequisite knowledge and support they need to develop their business ideas and scale up their businesses.
Startup incubator is the first-ever business incubator centre in the Gambia. It helps businesses and goal-oriented individuals achieve success by bridging the gap between what they need for their business and the resources available. The incubator provides six (6) months of incubation and accelerator /Scale-up programs for young Gambia entrepreneurs all over the country. The incubator believes that helping entrepreneurs and start-ups can help change the world. The organization provides hundreds of entrepreneurs, professionals and passionate young aspiring entrepreneurs with the tools and capacity to achieve their dreams, regardless of their current resources. It helps startups set up and develop their business plan and offer coaching services to them. The SIG aims to create a business ecosystem that will help young entrepreneurs reach their full potential and contribute to the growth of the Gambian economy. The company has seen the challenge that most entrepreneurs and startups face in the country and have designed programs to tap into the massive opportunities these startups will realise if given proper business training services.
The startup incubator has designed different programs to address the current situation, ranging from the six months incubation and acceleration program, regional boot camp to design thinking workshops. The incubation program involves a 6 months program where entrepreneurs undergo hands-on experience training, coaching, networking and mentorship services by the incubator teams in the country. It also provides a co-working space for young entrepreneurs in which they have access to office resources, computers and high-speed internet facilities. These spaces offer a suitable environment for collaborative work during the incubation period and even after graduation. The design thinking Bootcamp is another provision provided by the incubator. It involves professional and successful mentors who volunteer their expertise in providing entrepreneurs in business formulation, technical support, funding strategies and management.
Since its inception in 2015, the Startup Incubator Gambia has incubated 62 young entrepreneurs, accelerated over 60 agribusiness entrepreneurs, trained over 400 youth through our intensive one-week boot camps. Thus, established more than 100 businesses and created more than 300 jobs in which 90% of these businesses are still existing with immense success stories. These entrepreneurs represent different sectors, including fashion, agriculture, renewable energy, transportation and logistics, restaurants and hospitality, Real estate and architecture. A well-known success story of one of the incubators' clients is the designer Ndey Fatou Ceesay, the founder of NOIR. After becoming part of the SIG, her business flourished from just a mere local store to an internationally recognised fashion house.
Ndey Fatou has trained over 20 startups in the scale-up fashion program with the sole aim of accelerating their businesses and 80% of these young entrepreneurs have existing businesses.
She is presently doing quite well and provided employment opportunities for some young entrepreneurs in the fashion world.
SIG is visionary and is helping to build the next generation of entrepreneurs in the Gambia.SIG provides the opportunity to collaborate with experts who will guide and support young people in turning their dreams into reality. With all its lined programs and accomplishments, it is bound to transform the lives of many. The incubator has continued to contribute to the betterment of the people and the country and it is on the road to building the next generation of successful entrepreneurs in The Gambia.