By: Nyima Sillah
In its efforts to promote the business industry, The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Italian Cooperation, and Qcell awarded 18 winners of the Business plan Competition tagged “KeurJula Challenge”.
This first-ever business plan awards ceremony was held at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Conference Centre on Friday and the award was categorised into three parts. Eleven contestants won each D50,000 in the Jula category, five won the Baati Jula category with D100,000 each, and three won the prestigious Keur Jula category and received D150,000 each.
In her statement, the Chief Executive Officer of the GCCI, Sarata Konateh, said the Keur Jula Challenge has been a transformation for not only GCCI but for the ecosystem that seeks to transform the minds of entrepreneurs.
“Since the launch of the Keur Jula challenge in July 2022, 452 applicants were received out of which 252 came through for audition and 34 applicants made it to the boot camp which they had a very intense week before the final competition. All the participants, I am pleased to say they are coming from a vibrant mix of industry backgrounds.”
CEO Konateh noted that the platforms such as the Keur Jula Challenge made it important to foster partnerships, growth, and innovation between startups, cooperate, and also business organizations.
The Minister of Youth and Sports, Hon Bakary Badgie, emphasized the importance of promoting entrepreneurship among young people and said the Government of the Gambia continues to be committed to supporting the private sector as the engine for economic growth and the center for this growth lays the innovation of the SME’s a significant number of whom are owned by young people.
On her part, Isatou Jah, Executive Director of Q-Group Foundation expressed “our support of the Keur Jula Challenge came from our desire to increase multiple, home-based enterprises and help to straighten the local ecosystem for our entrepreneurs.”
However, ILO Representative Julie Senghor Kazagui and Maura Pazzi the Italian Cooperation both emphasized the importance of entrepreneurship and renewed their institution’s support to the Gambia entrepreneurship sector.
And Edrissa Mass Jobe, President of the GCCI gave a motivational statement and encouraged entrepreneurs to remain committed and continue pursuing their goals as entrepreneurs.