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French Embassy through Alliance Francaise launch new innovation project with 20,000 Euro grant to support youth entrepreneurship

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The French Embassy in partnership with Alliance Francaise Banjul launched, “Startup Edge Project” which aims to provide incubation, funding, mentorship and resources to Gambian tech start-ups.

The 12 month project will support at least 20 start-ups with up to 20,000 Euro in grants for them to develop their innovation and business activities.

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In addition, they will also receive non financial support such as mentorship, coaching, business management and advisory services, public speaking, marketing and communication and personal development.

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The project targets start-ups between the ages 18-35 years and brings new ideas and innovative methods of production, promotion of services and products in the field of Edutech, Agritech, Fintech, Multimedia, Creative arts and delights.

The French Embassy has over the years been supportive and driving in ensuring Gambia has a thriving ecosystem moving around entrepreneurship, innovation and personal development for the youth. 

“The whole idea is to keep moving by supporting the tech ecosystem and entrepreneurs in the Gambia. We really want to give them the skills that they can directly implement into their businesses and make a direct impact within a short period. Most of our entrepreneurs have great potential but they face problems with funding and also the right spaces where they can groom their ideas and develop their projects and this project will help address some of those challenges, Project coordinator Boubacar D Coly, said at the launching Friday.

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“We consider that this project will have a huge impact and we are expecting a lot of entrepreneurs especially women to be those change makers for a bigger impact,” he added.

According to Mr Coly, in the past 3 years, the Gambian tech industry has been growing steadily and increasing its contribution to the country’s economic growth, thanks to the French Embassy who initially funded Gambia Tech Project which phased out this year availing conducive opportunities within Alliance Francaise including financing for youths to be able to grow their potentials and reach their best levels of growth. 

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Camille Fournier, the Cooperation Officer to Gambia at the French Embassy in Senegal, said: “It is our priority to support the youth especially in entrepreneurship because Africa is quite dynamic in terms of entrepreneurship. We had a 2 year project with Alliance Francaise, Gambia Tech and other partners and it was a big success. More than 20 incubators received funds and there was a big network created and given those great successes, this project is obviously a way to show our support and to further the project and sustain its gains. Our objective is to have a long term perspective on this project by creating conducive spaces to support entrepreneurs in the Gambia.”

Prominent incubator networks such as Gambia Tech, Gam-Jobs, Start-Up Incubator, Insist Global, Enterprise Gambia and Alliance Francaise will be responsible for the implementation of the project and calls for applications have started with more than 300 applications already noted.

Muhammed Danso programs coordinator at Start-Up Incubator, a business development organisation that provides entrepreneurship training, coaching, mentoring and access to spaces for start-ups, disclosed that the program will include conducting a needs assessment for all participating start-ups from which a training program will be developed based on those needs to address their business development challenges.  

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