YEP-Gambia launches business loan scheme for young aspiring entrepreneurs
The European Union (EU)-funded Youth Empowerment Project (YEP), in partnership with Social Development Fund (SDF), launched a micro-loan scheme on 14 November 2018 to support youth-led small and medium-sized enterprises in The Gambia.
Speaking at the launch ceremony held at the YEP head office in Bakau, Minister of Trade, Regional Integration and Employment Amadou Sanneh said: “The government has put the youth at the centre of the National Development Plan as it recognises the need for economic sustainability.”
“We launched the mini-grant scheme as a first mechanism to help young entrepreneurs to overcome the difficulties they face in starting new businesses,” said YEP project manager Raimond Moser. He added that micro-loan schemes have become popular globally, as it helps generate jobs and broadens the country’s access to goods and services.
To secure one of these loans, applicants must be Gambians and have a registered business in the country. The applicants will first receive a YEP entrepreneurship skill training, before their applications are considered. With their new skills, they will be requested to open a bank account and develop a business plan that includes budgets and employment capacity, said Sonko Fofana, Director General of SDF.
Some of the Gambia’s businessmen were also present at the ceremony. The CEO of Afri Taste Enterprise and ML’s Poultry firm, Mariama Johm and Modou Lamin Fatty respectively, thanked YEP for their support to aspiring young entrepreneurs. They said multiple challenges hamper and discourage young people from starting businesses, and the scheme will go a long way in promoting small businesses in The Gambia.
Alpha Jallow a young aspiring entrepreneur said he hopes the scheme will benefit him and his peers. He hopes to submit a business plan to open a tailoring shop with support from the YEP.
TMP – 20/11/2018
Photo caption: Dignitaries at the launch of the YEP-Gambia micro-loan scheme