The National Enterprise Development Initiative (NEDI) recently convened a 10-day business plan development training for youth and women in the Lower River Region.
The training, funded by The Gambia Commercial Agricultural Value Chain Management (GCAV), attracted 80 youth and women, who were divided into two groups.
The training was aim at empowering participants with the requisite skills to develop bankable business plans. It was also meant to scale up youth involvement and participation in the agricultural value chain through the relevant projects under the Ministry of Agriculture as in line with the inter-ministerial partnership between youth and sports and agriculture.
The project came after some institutions realised that young entrepreneurs’ lack the capacity to produce standard or bankable business proposals to attract funding for their various businesses from donors and projects.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Ousman Sonko, lead trainer, said the business plan development training is hands-on, because they need people who can definitely deliver.
“We are tired of producing graduate who cannot do anything; we want to produce people who can do the work,”
He challenged the participants to socialise and network among themselves.
He added: “I challenged all of you to enjoy the process, if you enjoy the process you are not frustrated and you will be on top of every bit of it,” he told participants.
“As young people we don’t have time to blame our parents, we don’t have time to blame authorities. Our survival is our individual responsibility, others can only be concern. Let us make best used of these opportunities,” he stressed.
Salifu Puye, the Governor of Lower River Region, said the mission statement of NEDI is very important for the employment and employability of youth and women of this country.
Education, he added help people to understand and contribute to the development of his or her country.
He said the government of The Gambia is going by the mission statement of NEDI by empowering the youth and women of this country to contribute their quota to the development of the country.
“Without empowerment there will be no work for the youth and women and this is what triggered the ‘Back-way’ concept. The money they are going to look for is here in the country, other foreign nationals are doing it here. If you are an entrepreneur you need to be persistent and build partnerships,” he added.
According to him, private lead development always help a country to grow in terms of economy, adding that all hands must be on desk to build our country.
Mustapha Badjie, NEDI programme manager, said is part of NEDI’s mandate to support and empower youth and women with entrepreneurial skills.
He said part of the criteria for most of the agricultural projects that provide funding for youth and women businesses requires business plans.
“You cannot access these funding unless you provided a tangible business plan. This is why we came up with this training to support young people and women to be able to develop tangible and bankable business plans to access the funding provided by the agricultural projects,” he said.
Alassan Minteh, principal of Rural Development Institute (RDI), challenged participants to take the training seriously as a lot of resources have been invested during the course of the training.
by Fatoumatta K Saidykhan