By Aja Dahaba
Start-up Incubator Gambia (SIG) and the Building Resilience against Food and Nutrition insecurity in the Sahel (NeMA P2RS) formed a partnership in 2018 to design an Agribusiness Accelerator Program that has brought together 31 aspiring young Agricultural Entrepreneurs (Agri-preneurs).
Muhammed Danso Program Coordinator SIG said the first batch underwent a six month accelerator program which includes hands on sessions, business plan development, business development, mentorship, technical support, coaching, access to resources and finance, field visits and site visits to participants individual businesses. He added that the participants now have well established businesses operating in their various regions.
According to him following the impacts of the program, SIG and P2RS has currently started the acceleration program of the second batch of 30 participants at the Agricultural Farmer Rural Training Centre in Jenoi.
‘The participants are currently in their second session of the program were they identify business opportunities along the agricultural value chain using Design Thinking Methodologies. They are currently working tirelessly to develop their businesses with practical and hands-on sessions in finance, marketing, and building their operational plans’ he disclosed.
He further said; in the coming months, the participants will be exposed to a continuous coaching and mentoring to enable them to better develop their businesses ideas and meet their goals.
The participants recently embarked on a field visit to Evergreen Farms Center, Radville Farms and Kombo Poultry Farm.
The aim of the field visit was for the participant to be inspired by other agribusiness entrepreneurs and learn best practices on how to develop their agribusiness enterprises.
Evergreen Farm Center is own by a 35 year old Ousman Manneh a NeMA marching grant beneficiary who owns 5 hectares of land in Mandiba village in the West Coast Region. He is into horticulture and vegetable production, however he said he was inspired by his mother who was a vegetable gardener and was able to take care of her family through her garden.
At Kombo Poultry Farm Adama Colley advised the young entrepreneurs to be determine and committed which he says it takes commitment and determination to overcome your challenges.
He said with commitment from young people Gambia can stop importation of chickens anytime soon.
Harry Mbinky Human Resource Officer of Radville Farms said agriculture is a lucrative business that young people can venture into and create employment for themselves and their fellow youths.
He added that to make money in business one need to know your customers, what they need and what they want in other to meet their demands.
Participants are excited after a tedious and impactful trip and are more than willing to in cooperate what they have learned from the visits into their businesses to increase their profitability.
The Startup Incubator Gambia (SIG) supports the successful development of young Gambian entrepreneurs through an array of business support services and resources including hands-on entrepreneurship program developing business plans: financial management, leadership, ethics, human resource management, business presentation skills, mentorship, coaching, and expert consultations with industry experts. Since its inception in 2015, SIG has graduated 62 clients from its 6-months incubator program and created over 300 jobs.