By Mustapha Jallow
GIZ, a German Corporation for International Cooperation, in partnering with ECOWAS Regional Stabilisation and Development Fund (ECOWAS–RSDF) on Friday awarded forty (40) participants with certificates after completing a 10-day intensive training and coaching on Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Business Loop prepared by an International consultant.
The training of trainers and coaches on SME business Loop was organised by the ECOWAS-RSDF project implemented by GIZ. Held at the country’s international conference hall in Bijilo, the event started from 13th to 23rd September 2021, but participants were certificated on 24th Sept.
It was aimed at building the capacities of trainers/coaches’ active in the business development ecosystem to provide required support to growth-oriented enterprises. Both the training and the piloting are a resounding success, according to the officials.
The 40 trainers/coaches were selected from five business development partners namely: Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Gambia Youth Chamber of Commerce (GYCC), Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (GIEPA), Startup Incubator Gambia (SIG) and National Enterprise Development Initiative (NEDI).
It was also designed to provide guidance, training and coaching in entrepreneurial and managerial competencies, understanding of the business environment and business planning skills for start-ups. An international master trainer from the UK was during the sessions tasked to engage the participants on the subject matter.
While briefing reporters about the significance of the training, Mr. Abdoulie Jallow, team leader – GIZ Project (ECOWAS-RSDF), said the 10-day training was meant to develop the capacities of Gambians who are engaged in the business development sector.
“What we have been doing for the past 10 days was to give training to 41 Gambians in the SME business Loop. It’s a GIZ tool that has been used worldwide and also it has been implemented in other parts of Africa, but this is the first time here in The Gambia. We have trained people and given them the capacity to be able to go out there and support business enterprises that are ready for groove and development,’’ Jallow told reporters.
He further described SME Loop as a unique tool totally different from other models and mythologists that they have in the country, saying the tool starts with first assessing the business as well as to understand the business and constraints/barriers that businesses faced.
Jallow said the certificated participants will be working with businesses along the length and breadth of the country, adding they will be providing them with contracts because they will also be supporting 600 beneficiaries, who are groove oriented.
“We hope by next year we can register success in the business environment,” he said.
For her part, Verni Vijayarajah, the International Master Coach – SME Business Loop, said the intensive training was not an easy ride. But she commended the participants for being passionate and hard working.
She said participants have seen that there is a way to eradicate poverty in the country and the challenges SMEs are having, such as hoping to complete their business in a successful manner.
The international consultant urged the participants to keep the knowledge learned in the field because one day they will be far better than she is.
Sally Dibba, Business Coordinator of Startup Incubator Gambia (SIG), who spoke on behalf of the participants, commended the international consultant for giving them the opportunity to participate in the training, adding the session would be a learning and networking moment for them.
Madi Kambai, Director of Enterprise Support for GIEPA and also a participant, thanked GIZ and ECOWAS-RSDF for engaging them, saying the sessions were wonderful and new experiences they want to welcome in The Gambia.
“We want to be the (first) to pilot this and do it successfully,’’ Kambai said.
Meanwhile, GIZ, The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) is referred in English (German Corporation for International Cooperation), is a German development agency headquartered in Bonn and Eschborn that provides services in the field of international development cooperation. GIZ mainly implements technical cooperation projects of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), its main commissioning party, although it also works with the private sector and other national and supranational government organizations (but usually not with non-governmental organizations) on a public benefit basis.