By Awa Macalo
The Start-up Incubator Gambia in partnership with ECOWAS regional stabilization and development fund the Gambia launched a community component of the ECOWAS RSDF, micro-enterprise start-up support initiative MESSI.
The project worth about six hundred thousand euros aimed at complementing government’s efforts in improving the employment rate, income generation capacity of youths and young adult, and serve as a supporting hand to start-ups in the agribusiness sectors in the country.
The targeted group for this project are youths between the age of 18 and 35 including women and migrant returnees who are engaged in micro and small businesses and those with innovative ideas to start a business in one of the three agriculture value chain sectors; poultry, horticulture, and fisheries in greater Banjul, URR, and LRR. Coastal areas like Barra and Tanji are also part of the areas targeted.
Mariama Ashcroft, microfinance advisor, ECOWAS RSDF project, explained that a mini-grant scheme would be given to applicants who have met the criteria for the project and has never received a grant from any organization or an institution that is helping in giving feet to start up business in The Gambia.
She also clearly stated that these grants would not be distributed in a form of fund… “the size of the grant is up to two thousand five hundred Euros, individual applicants get one thousand euros and a group of three to ten people gets two thousand five hundred euros. But we are not giving these grants in cash, we would buy the equipment needed by the applicant for their business and supply them, we would also support the applicants for six months to start and grow their business skills to be able to sustain it.”
Alieu Jallow, founder and program manager Startup incubator Gambia said his team will organize community outreach and sensitize and raise awareness on the access to finance facilities. “We would also mobilize and support eligible applicants to apply and provide financial literacy training to successful applicants.”
The project he said would last for six months and a total of one hundred and twenty people would benefit through the provision of the start-up kits and business support services.