Gambia: Supporting Youth-Led Micro-Enterprises to Take Off – the EU-Giz Tekki Fii Project Provides Start-Up Kits and Mini-Grants to Young Entrepreneurs

After months of rigorous training for young entrepreneurs, GIZ through its EU-funded Tekki Fii Project supports its beneficiaries with start-up packages to enable them to fully establish and grow their businesses.

The business items worth D50,000 are procured and delivered directly by GIZ to the selected beneficiaries who consist of 20% of the total number of entrepreneurs trained in 2019 during the project’s first roll-out by GIZ’s partners, Start-up Incubator Gambia and GIEPA.

The selected beneficiaries for the start-up kits went through 5-7 days of common core training on the fundamentals of business management, with 6 months of individual coaching centered on a business plan and various key performance indicators such as business registration, functioning bank account, consistent financial record keeping, good financial management, improved marketing of products and sales, as well as market expansion and increased outlets.

After showing dedication to their business and commitment to attaining all the identified objectives during the training, the selected Beneficiaries, have received equipment worth D50,000 in kind. A beneficiary from Basse, Alagie Jeffang, received a welding package comprising a welding machine, angle grinder, ball pain hammer, full safety gears, cross pain hammer and magnet spring leveler, which he says has enabled him to start his workshop. With an expression of gratitude, he further explains: “I was working under someone but now these tools mean a lot to me because they will help me to establish my own workshop and I shall take full care of them for the fact that they will be my source of living.”

For Sira Gai, a young entrepreneur doing business in food processing and catering, receiving items such as gas cooker, refrigerator, table and chairs, blender, cooking pots and a full set of serving utensils, the package simply means growing her business and accumulating enough to expand in the next two years. The same goes for Fatou S. Jallow, the founder of Khanjallow’s Spices: “Receiving the start-up package brings a huge difference to my food processing business. I was struggling to grind and dry my products but now, having the grinding machine and dryer has alleviated my struggle,” she stated.

The Tekki Fii grant scheme, implemented by GIZ together with ITC / YEP and IMVF, is coordinated by the National Association of Cooperative Credit Unions Gambia (NACCUG). GIZ’s contribution is twofold: The Tekki Fii mini-grant and the “Solar Grant”. The mini-grants are meant to support micro and small enterprises (MSEs) in the form of startup or enhancement packages to enable them to fully establish or grow their businesses. The “Solar Grant”, however, is an enhancement package for already registered businesses that are fully operational, with the potential of scaling up and willing to integrate solar as a source of energy supply in their businesses. This is aimed at promoting the usage of renewable energy through solar-powered devices which can boost production at a lesser cost. The solar equipment is usually combined with water irrigation systems and any other equipment that the applicants need to boost their business.

The selection of beneficiaries is done after a thorough assessment by an independent committee of business development professionals from different professional agencies and members of NACCUG. It’s a rare opportunity that avails young start-ups to explore the dynamics of a growing business. “Even though I did not receive everything I wanted from the D50,000 grant, the two sewing machines with a table and an iron machine I got will go a long way in improving my services,” says a recipient of the grant, Mam Jarra Touray, owner of JTN Designs.

With the hope of adjusting to the growing needs of their sectors, some have already started renovating their business outlets to attract more customers, and the items received have already started gaining sight. Tida Gibba, a beautician, who used to operate from her home, says her salon will soon be the next big thing in her community: “I wouldn’t be thinking of renovating a shop, talk less of having all the items without the grant. Now the salon will look even more classy and presentable, and I cannot wait to start employing other young people.”

After receiving 200 chicks courtesy of the EU-funded grant scheme to start his poultry dream, Richard Jatta advises youths to be patient and remain steadfast in their pursuit of success: “Life is never too easy and young people should be hardworking and disciplined in whatever career they choose. This is how we can build this country into what we want it to be,” he stressed, whilst tasking stakeholders to multiply their Interventions so that more young people can benefit.

Some of the beneficiaries are eager to expand and employ fellow youths after receiving some of the most essential tools needed to start their business. For Yusupha Jawara, the owner of Mayuz Farms, getting the items salvaged his worry of meeting his budget, and now he can spend the supposed budget on meeting some other farming needs: “I received almost all the necessary simple tools a farmer will need in his garden to work, and I also received a power tiller machine, which helps to work with efficiency, besides saving me time and cost.”

Yusupha concluded by expressing his heartfelt gratitude to the European Union for making his wildest dreams of becoming a successful farmer come true: “I also thank GIZ from the beginning of our entrepreneurship training by sponsoring the workshop, where I got chosen for this benefit package, and they did fulfill their promise with satisfaction to me as a beneficiary of the start-up kits. I want to thank all the members in the GIZ organization for encouraging me to work harder,” Yusupha adduced.

Young people usually have brilliant business ideas but are often in a dilemma of knowing where to start due to a lack of capital. In providing them opportunities to “make it here”, the Tekki Fii goal becomes a reality. The EU-funded Project managed by GIZ does not only train youths to acquire technical and entrepreneurial skills, but also equips them to successfully start up their business. GIZ is hopeful that the 375 recipients of the start-up kits and the 170 micro-enterprises benefitting from the grants will fully maintain the equipment and use it to sustain themselves and their families, whilst contributing to the economic growth of the country.

source: https://allafrica.com/stories/202010290265.html

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