By Bakary Ceesay
The European Union, through the Youth Empowerment Project, provides one million Dalasis in grant capital to three local innovative businesses selected for the Kanifing Municipal Council Mayor’s ‘Tekki Fii’ Challenge Fund.
The winners are “Le Jumbo”, “Gisqo” and “Outboost Media and Analytics”.
The European Union Ambassador to the Republic of The Gambia, H.E. Attila LAJOS, thanked and congratulated all entrepreneurs who have participated in the challenge. “In its response to the COVID-19 crisis in The Gambia, the European Union is committed to supporting dynamic young Gambian entrepreneurs develop local solutions to global problems. I am pleased that innovation and digitisation are at the heart of these”, he said.
The EU-funded Youth Empowerment Project, in partnership with the Lord Mayor of Kanifing Municipal Council, Talib Ahmed Bensouda, and the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry launched in April 2020 the one million Dalasis challenge fund to sponsor youth-led business solutions that can help overcome difficulties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The KMC’s Mayor Challenge Fund identified three challenges, including (i) education and learning disruptions due to the closure of schools, (ii) economic distortions linked to the closure of non-essential businesses and markets, and (iii) gaps in transportation and distribution such as the reduction in public transportations revenue due to limited passengers.
The three winners, selected by an independent committee among more than 40 applications, are (1) “Le Jumbo”, a web platform for essential and non-essential products and services, initiated by Muhammed Jawo to offer a one-stop-solution for all online shopping needs; (2) “Gisqo”, an Integrated Learning Management System delivered through online learning and training for students and teachers, founded by Kara Jagne; and (3) “Outboost Media and Analytics”, an out-of-home advertising initiative developed by Baboucarr Njie, which leverages public transportation systems to raise awareness while helping companies build their brand visibility.
One million Dalasis in grant capital are awarded to the selected businesses as seed funding. The entrepreneurs will also benefit from mentorship and access to a network of successful business leaders to implement their business solutions in KMC and potentially scale up to cover other areas.
The initiative is supported by the Youth Empowerment Project (www.yep.gm) implemented by the International Trade Centre as part of the Tekki Fii Programme (www.tekkifii.gm), a flagship initiative of the Government of The Gambia with the aim of increasing job opportunities and income prospects for young Gambians. YEP takes a market-driven approach and enhances employability and self-employment opportunities. The project is funded by the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa.