‘One Million Dalasi Challenge Fund for Women Entrepreneurs’: Winners announced
(17 November, Banjul) Three women-owned ventures were today declared winners of the One Million Dalasi Challenge Fund for Women Entrepreneurs during an award ceremony at the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) headquarters.
The Fund provides one million Dalasi (around $19,102) seed capital to support and accelerate innovative and locally owned solutions offered by women entrepreneurs in the Gambia which address challenges amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Fund prioritizes solutions for better market access, transportation and distribution, agro-processing and storage, and climate-smart growth.
Following a rigorous evaluation process of 478 applications, the independent committee of experts selected:
- Decachoka Entreprise – an agro-processing company aiming to reduce post-harvest losses
- Bendulaa Farm – a carbon-saving ecological organic vegetable box scheme based in the Upper River Region
- Amy CJ Exports/ AWEP – an exporter of agricultural products whose goal is to hire 100 micro farmers in 23 community gardens to boost the income of women smallholder farmers
Next to the GMD 1 million in grant capital, the entrepreneurs will also benefit from mentorship and networking with successful business leaders to implement their business solutions across The Gambia.
The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry champions this initiative with support by the International Trade Centre (ITC) through its European Union-funded Youth Empowerment Project and the UN Peacebuilding Fund.
Background – About the Challenge
Launched on 5 October 2021, the Challenge Fund is open to all young Gambian entrepreneurs, social innovators and non-governmental organizations. To achieve the 80% rural target, GCCI and the International Trade Centre, with support from the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare (MoGCSW) and the Gambia Women’s Chamber of Commerce (GWCC), embarked on a week-long regional outreach in the Lower River Region, Central River Region, North Bank Region and Upper River Region with regional governors, women group leaders, and regional chapters of business support organizations.
“It is my strong view that we must eradicate the mechanisms that tolerate gender bias in business, especially as it relates to improving livelihoods and contributing to national and global economies. Whilst we work towards eliminating traditional gender norms that hamper the growth of women-owned or women-run businesses, initiatives such as this Women’s Challenge Fund will help enable the establishment and growth of sustainable livelihoods for women entrepreneurs and associations.”
Oumie Sise-Sallah, Board Member, Gambia Chamber of Commerce & Industry
“The EU is committed to support The Gambia and its people to boost sustainable growth, create jobs and help adapt to the effects of climate change. Gender equality lies at the heart of this process.”
H.E. Corrado Pampaloni, EU Ambassador to The Gambia
“Economic empowerment of women is at the heart of the International Trade Centre’s work” “ITC supports The Gambia’s agenda on empowerment of youth and women through policy advocacy, skills development, entrepreneurship, market access, access to finance, coaching and mentorship and connection to its global network.”
Fatou Mbenga- Jallow, Project Coordinator and Senior Technical Adviser, Youth Empowerment Programme, International Trade Centre
“Women's effective participation in the entrepreneurship sector is often subverted by lack of financial resources which is why I highly appreciate this well thought out Challenge Fund for Women Entrepreneurs.”
Mariyann Jabang, Director of Gender Equality and Women Empowerment, MoGCSW
About GCCI - Founded in 1967, born out of a merger between the Bathurst Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Agriculture, and Employers’ Association. (GCCI) is a non-profit membership organisation which facilitate business development, promotes trade, and advances the interest of the Gambian business nationally and intentionally. GCCI provides vital business services and opportunities to its members for them to be informed successful ventures. It is recognized as an authoritative voice for the Gambia Private Sector investment by the government of The Gambia and regional and international bodies.
Kerr Jula, Bertil Harding Highway, Bijilo, West Coast Region
Office +(220) 4463452
Mobile: +(220) 7329987 / 3655850
Email: info [at] gcci.gm (info[at]gcci[dot]gm)
About YEP – the project is part of the Tekki Fii Program, a flagship initiative of the Government of The Gambia and the European Union with the aim of reducing migration pressures through increased job opportunities and income prospects for youth. YEP is implemented by ITC and takes a marked-driven approach to improve employability and self-employment opportunities for youth, with a focus on vocational training and the creation of micro and small-sized enterprises. At the same time, the project creates and improves employment opportunities in selected sectors through value addition and market linkages. YEP focuses a number of traditional sectors such as agriculture and tourism. The project also helps diversify the Gambian economy by supporting ‘new’ sectors, including the creative and digital services industries. YEP is funded through the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa.
Entrepreneurship Development Centre, Sait Matty Road, Bakau, The Gambia
Isatou Jallow - Associate Communications Officer – YEP
yep [at] intracen.org (yep[at]intracen[dot]org)
About the EU funding - The EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa addresses the root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa. More specifically, it helps address the root causes of destabilisation, forced displacement and irregular migration by promoting economic and equal opportunities, strengthening security, development and resilience of vulnerable people.
For more information visit https://ec.europa.eu/trustfundforafrica/ and facebook.com/EUinTheGambia
About the UN Peacebuilding Fund - The Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) project on “Climate Conflict: Strengthening Community Coping Mechanisms to Mitigate Risks of Conflicts and Reduce Climate-Related Tensions in The Gambia” is a joint initiative implemented by the WFP, ITC and UNFPA in collaboration with the Government of The Gambia. The project, funded by the UN Peacebuilding Fund, seeks to mitigate and address growing conflict and tensions among rural agricultural communities in NBR, CRR, and URR in The Gambia. The focus is on communities affected by the increasing impacts of climate change on their lives and livelihood.
For more information, visit www.intracen.org
About ITC - The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
For more information, visit www.intracen.org