By Aisha Tamba
The National Agricultural Land and Water Management Development Project (Nema) under its African Development Bank’s P2RS-Building Resilience project, Tuesday launched a six-month start-up incubator/accelerator programme for at least 30 young people.
The project is expected to be facilitated by Start-Up Incubator Gambia (SIG), a leading entrepreneurship enterprise for young people.
Speaking at the launch, Nema/P2RS Project Director Momodou L Gassama, said the incubation programme is geared towards creating profitable and sustainable businesses for the country’s young women and youths.
He thanked the start-up for the partnership and called on the selected young entrepreneurs to take the programme seriously.
He said: “We designed this programme, which is the first of its kind in agricultural projects, to create sustainable agricultural enterprises that can be run by young people. We want to create more youth enterprises and that can only be possible through this programme.”
Director Gassama used the occasion to call on young entrepreneurs to endeavour to become service providers in different domains in the agricultural value chain.
The Nema/P2RS business development officer, Banky Njie, said the start-up is designed to help entrepreneurs to solve some of their problems that are commonly associated with running a start-up business by providing workspaces, seed funding, mentoring, coaching and trainings.
“The sole purpose of a start-up incubation programme is to help entrepreneurs grow their business,” he stated. “You will be pleased that there is some amount of seed capital attached to this programme,” Mr Njie told the beneficiaries.
“You will also receive financial assistance in cash, kind or mixture of both, provided you abide by the terms and conditions of the tripartite agreement that you have all signed.”
Mr Njie estimated that within six months, the beneficiaries’ business plans will be perfected with guidance from SIG and based on their achieved milestones, “they will be qualified to receive the disbursements in nothing more than three installments for use in the setting up and operationalisation of their businesses.”
Project Manager Alieu Jallow praised Nema-P2RS for choosing his office as the implementer of the project, and assured they will live up to expectations.
At the end of the launch, participants were presented with a signed memoranda of understanding that outlines the terms of engagement, including the qualifications for the financial assistance and seed funding.
The launch was attended by the deputy permanent secretary, Ministry of Youth and Sports, senior members of the Nema-P2RS and consultants and board members of SIG, GYIN Gambia among other dignitaries.