By Tabora Bojang
A new French-funded programme “Gambia Tech Project” that aims to offer opportunities and facilitate innovation for young Gambian entrepreneurs has been launched.
The two-year programme is funded by the French Embassy in partnership with the Alliance Française de Banjul to foster and participate actively in the development of a tech ecosystem in The Gambia.
It is earmarked to boost and impact the lives of over 1,200 young entrepreneurs out of which 20 start-ups will be selected to be incubated, mentored, networked and funded to help them reach their best level of growth.
The project manager and coordinator Baboucarr Coly said the project specifically targets youth between the ages of 15 and 35 who ventures into a variety of economic sectors using innovative methods of production, promotion of services and products.
“The project will grant young entrepreneurs a unique opportunity to reach their entrepreneurial goals and targets using technology. Our main objectives are to provide quality human resources and quality entrepreneurs in The Gambia because we have very creative people but the problem is the limited vision. So this project is trying to bring another vision and know how in the eco system so that our entrepreneurs will be able to set off and be creative enough to do things in a different way as well as compete with other countries,” Coly added.
He also disclosed that there have been calls for applications as part of a logo competition which would be used for the project hallmark, with the winner to be announced on June 26.
Mr Coly, who for the past 15 years has been working across Africa including Senegal, Kenya and South Africa providing coaching and mentorship programmes to young entrepreneurs, said the programme will further avail participants pitching sessions where successful projects will be added to a data of global tech actors for networking and partnerships.
“It will also build intercultural exchange between people of France and The Gambia because we will try to take all our 20 incubators to France for an apprenticeship so they can learn more and become better business and better people.”
Baboucarr who has a rich background in computer science and engineering is also the CEO of Sunu Lab Technology a company based in Senegal supporting tech and providing soft ware services.
He said entrepreneurship is the only solution for The Gambia’s development.
“We must work to provide quality human resources and that can only happen if all the existing structures in the eco system join hands and not duplicate efforts. We need to work on our youths in order to spark things for them to be creative enough and think beyond the box. Other countries in the sub-region are very much advanced in entrepreneurship and technology because they have quality education and quality human resources.”
The project will give opportunity to all entrepreneurs to have access to different resources, trainings, business linkage opportunities, tech entrepreneurship events, resourceful platforms as well as offer technical, digital and consultancy services to entrepreneurs.