three-year entrepreneurship support project funded by The Gambia government and
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Empretec, officially ended on
Friday with a business award dinner at a hotel in Kololi.
The dinner was attended by Aja Fatoumatta Jallow-Tambajang, minister of women’s affairs who also oversees the Office of the Vice President, and several other dignitaries from both the private and public sectors.
The project was designed to help unleash the growth potentials of entrepreneurs in The Gambia in order to boost the socioeconomic development of the country.
Speaking at the award night, the minister of women’s affairs, Aja Fatoumatta Jallow-Tambajang, said the establishment of the Empretec project was in line with government’s policy objectives of empowering the masses through a private sector-led growth strategy that provides economic opportunities and facilitates the sustainable development of micro, small and medium enterprises in The Gambia.
She pointed out that based on the overall project implementation report received, the Empretec project performed “extremely well” by achieving most of its key performance indicators.
She said even though it was a pilot project, the Empretec project has a lot of success stories which are unique to The Gambia.
“The project has been rated as one of the best within the Global Empretec family; it is the only project that has successfully qualified within two years (6 female, 6 male) national UNCTAD Empretec certified trainers,” the acting vice president said.
Madam Jallow-Tambajang said another enviable success story is the number of Empretec trained entrepreneurs who have been able to transform their businesses and enjoying a lot of successes.
Empretec trained thousands of young entrepreneurs to support their businesses and create job for youth across the country.
Assan Faal, CEO of Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (GIEPA), said since the inception of the Empretec programme, the majority of the beneficiaries are women who are contributing to the socio-economic development of the country.
UNDP Resident Representative to The Gambia, Ade Mamonyane Lekoetje, said they are grateful to have been a partner in Empretec and the hope is that the partnership with the government will be strengthened for more projects along the way.
“We are waiting on the evaluation report from Empretec to see the impacts made; we are hoping the evaluation will point us in a direction of supporting the government of The Gambia,” she said.
The permanent secretary of the Ministry of Trade, Naffie Barry, said the award ceremony marked the end of the first phase of the project.
She applauded GIEPA for its commitment to the success of the project, saying the project has impacted so many lives and livelihoods.
“We are happy to have Empretec and hope it is here to stay,” Mrs Barry said.