By Ndey Sowe
The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) with support from the International Trade Center (ITC) on Wednesday, 17 November, 2021 awarded to three women entrepreneurs following the launch of a one million dalasi challenge fund dubbed: “Challenge Fund for Women Entrepreneurs.”
On Tuesday, 5 October, 2021 the GCCI and ITC launched a one-million-dalasi challenge fund for women entrepreneurs that aims at finding, supporting, and accelerating early-stage grassroots solutions that will address; challenges in access to market, in transportation and distribution, processing and storage facilities, and promoting climate smart ventures.
The challenge is funded by the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) and the UN Peacebuilding Fund (PBF).
The winners of the challenge fund are: DecaChoka Enterprise with D400, 000, Amy CJ Exports/ AWEP with D300, 00, and Bendulaa Farm also D300, 000.
Fatou Mbenga Jallow, YEP (ITC) Coordinator and Senior Adviser, said the GCCI is one of the key partners that they work with and their cooperation covers many areas which has grown from year to year.
“We partnered in the D1 million KMC Mayor’s Challenge, at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic to find solutions for key disruptions caused by the pandemic and the state of emergency that followed,” Mrs Mbenga Jallow stated. He also asserted that they aim to improve the growth of impactful business models including those owned and managed by women.
H.E. Corrado Pampaloni, the European Ambassador to The Gambia, stated that the Covid-19 started as a health crisis, within weeks, the pandemic has created full socio-economic crises.
He said it has affected all sectors of the economy through agricultural businesses, transport providers, distributive trade and many more. He said the challenge fund will help unleased creative and innovative potentials of rural entrepreneurs.
“The EU is committed to support the Gambia to boost sustainable growth, create jobs, and help adapt to the effects of climate change, and gender-equality lies at the heart of this project,” H.E Pampaloni assured.
Oumie Sise Sallah, Board Director GCCI, said that with the substantial increase in the number of start-ups and entrepreneurs that they have witnessed in the last decade or more, it is imperative that these businesses and associations are supported to scale-up their ventures, especially when a significant portion of these business are youth and women-led.
Mrs Sise Sallah emphasized that the challenge does not only recognize the importance and resilience of women in society, but it uplifts and motivates many others to break the barriers as well.
Mrs. Sise Sallah urged the beneficiaries to take advantage of this gesture and move their innovative ideas to the next level.