European Union funded Youth Empowerment Project (YEP), in partnership with
Social Development Fund (SDF) Wednesday launched a mini-loan scheme to increase
accessibility of finance to youth-led micro, small and medium sized enterprises
in The Gambia.
Speaking at the ceremony held at the YEP head office in Bakau, trade, regional integration and employment minister Amadou Sanneh said beneficiaries of the mini-loan scheme will be lucky since finance is usually a great obstacles in business. “The government has put the youth on the centre of the National Development Plan (NDP) as it recognizes the need for economic sustainability,” he said.
Minister Sanneh assured of government’s continued support and collaboration to the development of the nation’s youth.
Raimond Moser, YEP project manager said YEP is not a bank but a project for capacity building for young Gambians. “We launched the mini-grant scheme as a first mechanism to help young entrepreneurs to overcome the difficulties they face in their business as young entrepreneurs who just start business.”
He said the mini-grant has become a very popular scheme, saying it was meant to create employment for young people especially entrepreneurs in business. He thanked the government of The Gambia and the European Union (EU) for their continuous support and collaboration.
Sonko Fofana, Director General of SDF gave a brief description of the mini-loan scheme, pointing out that in order to be able to secure a loan, applicants must be Gambians and has a registered business in the country. “The applicants must first receive a YEP entrepreneurship skill training and an operational bank account and must also present a solid business plan in free format, including budget, management and an estimation of employment capacity,” he added.
Chief executive officers of Afri Taste Enterprise and ML’s Poultry firm; Mariama Johm and Modou Lamin Fatty, both thanked YEP for their tremendous support to the young entrepreneurs especially when it comes to financing their business.
Both lamented that there are lot of challenges that is hampering and discouraging youth from businesses, saying the previous and recent schemes would go a long way in help young entrepreneurs to scale up their business.