Feb 4, 2009, 7:00 AM
Three young and emerging Gambian entrepreneurs recently inspired young people while addressing a cross-section of youths on “Business innovation: unleashing the best in you” at a forum convened by the US Embassy in Banjul.
The young entrepreneurs included Ousainou Dambell, proprietor of DBC Quality Design, a company that specializes in creative design, printing and advertisement; Lamin Marenah, another aspiring young entrepreneur and designer who founded The Studio 361, a design and media consulting firm and the longest serving communications agency in The Gambia; Lamin Manga, producer/editor and proprietor of Unique FM radio and UBILEX and now the Director of TV programs at GRTS.
The three young men spoke at the forum giving accounts of their life history, business stories as well as their shortcomings and challenges in the business sector.
They also encouraged and inspired young people to venture into entrepreneurship as it’s the gateway to self-economic empowerment. They also shared their tale, experience and plans.
Speaking in post-lecture interviews, Lamin Marenah, managing director of The Studio 361, said: “Success in business comes through hard work and focus; and the road to success is always a long road full of challenges and shortcomings. Even us are not successful we are still on the road. It’s a journey that we are undertaking.”
Ousainou Dambell, Chief Executive Officer of Rainbow Press and DBC Quality Designs, said: “It’s great, refreshing and beautiful when you share your experiences with young people who are aspiring to become successful, and today we are inspiring aspiring young people.”
Sharing his experience, Mr Dambell said ‘belief’ is the word, meaning aspiring entrepreneurs should learn to believe in God and in themselves.
“You have to believe in yourself, you have to position yourself, you know what you are trying to achieve and give it your best and with that belief you can achieve whatever you want to achieve,” the DBC proprietor advised aspiring young entrepreneurs.
Lamin Manga, Director of TV programs at GRTS and Proprietor of Unique FM Radio, believes young people should be encouraged to take part in entrepreneurship.
Inspiring and encouraging young people is the way forward and one of the best services one can render to their country, Mr Manga said, adding: “It’s sad that the business industry is dominated by non-Gambians and we should step in to further boost our economy.”
He added: “I will use the word perseverance, why because when you persevere you have objectives, you will strike to get to a particular place, you have guideline and strategies in your head. In life it is all about perseverance; when you persevere, you run to what you go for and nothing should stop you.”
Meanwhile, Omar Jallow, veteran Gambian politician cum alumni member of IVLP (International Visitors’ Leadership Program), who moderated the forum, said: “Over the past 40 years, more than 230 Gambians have been through the programme.
“They constitute a distinguished lot of highly qualified professionals in virtually all sectors, many of whom have offered exemplary service in their various fields of operation.”
Mr Jallow told the gathering that the US State Department invited thousands of professionals in various fields on a study tour of the United States to meet and exchange ideas and share experiences with their counterparts both in the US and other countries around the world which he said he was lucky to be part of .
OJ, who encourages young people to venture into productive businesses, said that most businesses in the country are dominated by foreigners, “which is sad story”.
“Today, young and inspiring young entrepreneurs the likes of Manga, Marenah, and Dambell are doing their utmost best to carve a niche for themselves. Follow their steps in order to be successful,” the veteran politician advised the youth.
The former agriculture minister also commended the US Embassy for initiating the American Corner, a public library which has become an academic warehouse where young people of all ages gather and share experiences.
The forum, held under the theme: “Gambian IVLP Alumni speak on “Business Innovation: Unleashing the Best in You”, attracted students from the University of The Gambia and other higher institutions as well as media practitioners and embassy officials
Meanwhile, the three young entrepreneurs are now part of US International Visitors’ Leadership Program (IVLP) alumni members.
The IVLP is the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program. Launched in 1940, the IVLP seeks to build mutual understanding between the U.S. and other nations through carefully designed short-term visits to the U.S. for current and emerging foreign leaders.
The forum at the American Corner was geared towards helping young people to hear and discuss with young successful entrepreneurs in the country who have all benefited from the US government’s initiated program.