By: Kebba AF Touray
The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry [GCCI], Agriculture and Employers’ Association in partnership with the Konrad Adenaeur Foundation, organized the second edition of the National Start-up forum from 16th to 17th June 2021.
The forum held under the theme “Adapting to New Realities: “The evolution of startups”, aimed at bringing together startups from rural and urban Gambia, policy makers and experienced economic operators to discuss issues affecting startups in The Gambia including functional policies to support Start-ups to scale up, post pandemic and beyond.
The forum also avails an opportunity for startups to consolidate their comprehension of the business ecosystem, learn about standards and best practices from industry leaders and entrepreneurs who have been successful in their line of business.
Mr. Alieu Secka, the Chief Executive Officer of the GCCI, said that in 2020, 4.4 million new companies started worldwide, which he described as the highest increase of startups, in the past decade.
He said that based on startups financing statistics collected from over 300 people in UK, finance continues to be the biggest challenge for all the burdened and exciting entrepreneurs, and that the largest barrier reported in startup funding, was knowledge, which accounts about 17 percent.
This he said is followed by confidence 9 percent and that legal, restrictions and limitations 5 percent and ideas, time and customers constituting 4 percent, and as such expressed confident that the two day forum will provide the participants with some solutions.
CEO Secka advised the participants not to be embarrassed by failures, but instead learn from them and start again, adding that success is not final and that failure is not fatal, but courage to continue is what counts.
He said: “Micros and startup businesses are central to the link between private sector growth and poverty reduction, making them crucial for both income distributions and equitable gender participation. Worldwide, micros and startup businesses account for 95 percent of all businesses”.
This he said is particularly so for the Gambia, where 99 percent and around 65 percent of jobs globally, and this connotes that they are key in livelihoods, eradicating poverty, creating employment for the most vulnerable and significantly fueling economic development.
Mr. Abdoulie Touray, erstwhile President of the GCCI, dilating on the topic Inspirational Talk, urged the participants to read, ask and seek, in order for them to secure, find and be told about knowledge.
He quizzed: “This forum is called startup forum, but how can you startup when you have not read and asked”.
He challenged the participants to try and know their history, noting that if they don’t know their history, they cannot know themselves, their purpose and that if they do not know their purpose, they would not know their value.
He said: “It is important that as youth, all of you know your purpose, worth and value. The Gambian values are respect for the elderly and authority, as well as be discipline, tolerant and have Faith”. Whatever you do in life, you should make an impact, so that people can celebrate your legacy”
He added: “We come to life for 4Ls and these are we come to live, learn, love and leave a legacy, and that if you get these 4Ls in a distorted order, you will have a problem. When you are looking for advices, look for people with wisdom”.
He averred that the only way to have wisdom is to have 4Es, and these are to have education, experience, expertise and cutting edge.