Feb 26, 2009, 4:17 AM
Entrepreneurs Association (YEA) on Friday organised a daylong seminar at the
America Corner at Kairaba Avenue to sensitise young people, including
university students, to change their mindsets towards entrepreneurship.
The main speaker for the day, Alieu Jallow, who is the founder of YEA and Startup Incubator Gambia, said entrepreneurship is not just a matter of buying and selling; an entrepreneur is a person who solves a problem or add value to a product or service to the delight of the people.
Speaking on the theme ‘Building an entrepreneurship ecosystem that thrives in the new Gambia’, Mr Jallow said in creating a business, one must think big, start small and move fast and also prepare to capitalise on crises.
He emphasised that as a startup entrepreneur, you must know about the government policies, business entry regulations, tax regulations, and networking opportunities.
The entrepreneurship mentor said from experience in mentoring young people, many of them used to say their main challenge in business is finance.
“But to start a business, you don’t need large amount of money, be innovative and work hard, money will come,” he said, adding that there are financial institutions that support startup incubators with loan or other financial aid.
Jallow further explained that for entrepreneurship to grow in society well, the academia has a role to play by teaching students to be job creators, not job seekers.
“We should remove the negative concept that entrepreneurship is more of buying and selling,” he said. “Any person you employed as a businessman, you have reduced the rate of unemployment in The Gambia.”
The entrepreneurship mentor said the education system should also introduce more of practical than theoretical skills acquisition courses.
He noted that NGOs and civil society organisations also have a greater role to create awareness on the importance of entrepreneurship in the development of the country.
At the seminar, success stories of young entrepreneurs who had gone through the Startup Incubator Programme to become successful entrepreneurs were shared to inspire others. These include Muhammed Sanyang, CEO of MBK Farm who started with 500 chicks and now has 11,000 chickens; Binta Jarju, BJ CREATION and Ndey Fatou Ceesay, Nnool Creation, who is now a successful fashion designer.