By Olimatou Coker
Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) together with Association of Small Scale Enterprises in Responsible Tourism (ASSERT) over the weekend launched the second edition of the Gambia’s Good Market, GGM at the Petroleum House in Brusubi.
The GGM is a result of a partnership between the ASSERT and the YEP.
It is a platform to showcase and provide point of sale to entrepreneurs based in The Gambia who are selling high quality and locally made products and services which include natural health and beauty products, arts and crafts, fashion and accessories, agricultural produces and other foods and beverages.
Ebrima Ceesay from ASSERT, said the Association was established in early 2000 to bring together small businesses, organisations and associations to trade fairly and pursue responsible and sustainable business practices.
According to him, ASSERT’s objective is to build a value chain in the tourism industry, provide a visible Gambian tourism sector and promote responsible and sustainable tourism service providers.
“With YEP’s support, vendors have received trainings in standards, entrepreneurship, branding and packaging to improve the standard of their products and their appeal to the tourists, expatriates and local markets in The Gambia,” he said.
Ceesay said the focus to this point has largely been on logistical matters, marketing and bringing products to standard.
“In its second season (starting Autumn 2019), the market will aim to improve its marketing, expand the number of stalls, improve the catering provision and demand greater attention to the sustainability of products,” he noted.
Ngoneh Panneh, adviser, tourism and creative industries, YEP, said under the implementation of the ASSERT, the GGM directly supported over fifty youth entrepreneurs from 2018 -2019 in areas of training, market access, study tours, product development, capacity building, and visibility with a consistent monthly platform for entrepreneurs to exhibit and sell their products.
Binta Gassama, product development officer for the Gambia Tourism Board (GTB), used the occasion to speak about her institution’s mandate in tourism in The Gambia. “Our mandate is to promote the Gambia as a vibrant tourist destination, to make The Gambia a tourist paradise and a major tourist destination.”
Maimuna Jahateh, founder of Maimuna’s Skin & Hair Care Product, applauded YEP and Assert for the platform.
“The GGM last year gave us a great platform to showcase our products. This has created visibility for our young businesses,” she noted.