Sunday, September 25

SheTrades Gambia Welcomes 4th Cohort

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The Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment (MoTIE) in collaboration with the International Trade Centre (ITC) on Thursday, September 1st welcomed the 4th cohort of the SheTrades Companies at a ceremony held at the National Association of Cooperative Credit Union (NACCUG) in Bakau.

The new members make up the 1st batch of the SheTrades Hub and the 4th cohort of the SheTrades Gambia.

The SheTrades Gambia project is meant to support women-led businesses for international competitiveness and market access. The SheTrades Hub offers a platform for women-owned businesses to benefit from a wide range of opportunities to expand their businesses and participate in trade fairs, and training by creating networking, learning opportunities, and other, trade fairs and other business events.

The SheTrades Gambia Hub was launched in 2021 and provided a platform to bring together different partners, including SheTrades entrepreneurs in fashion and agribusiness; value-chain enablers; market partners; the ‘gender champions’, government stakeholders, and development partners. The reception and networking event also provided an opportunity for the entrepreneurs to showcase their products.

The new cohort is made up of 15 fashion designers and tailors, 21 in horticulture and 4 in public procurement.

Mr. Ousman Bojang, the Director of Trade at MoTIE welcomed the 4th cohort of SheTrades Gambia and the 1st batch of the SheTrades Hub. He informed the new members that there is a difference between the project and the Hub but they are all SheTrades. “We had a SheTrades project which we were implementing in 2019 and the project phase out in 2021,” he revealed, adding that as a ministry they were implementing the project with ITC and other partners.

He affirmed that the idea is to support women-owned businesses to be able to transform, scale up and sustain their businesses. Therefore, he described the project as a dedicated programme targeting women. Through the lifespan of the project, he noted, they were able to register different cohorts of about 92 companies. He said they were able to provide some support in terms of training, organising networking events, as well as supporting some of their participants in trade fairs; such as the Gambia Women Chamber of Commerce Trade Fair, the Gambia Youth Chamber Trade Fair, and the Gambia Chamber of Commerce Trade Fair.

Director Bojang went on to disclose that they provided mini-grants to some of the enterprises that were part of the project amounting to 4.6 million disbursements to scale up their business production.

He made it clear to the new batch of the SheTrades that the Hub is not for the new batch alone as they are part of the overall community of SheTrades members which is made up of 139 women-owned enterprises.

Fatou Mbenga Jallow, ITC official, urged the new batch to learn from the previous cohorts in terms of experience and challenges. She assured them that they would ensure that with this new cohort they address those challenges to optimally take the opportunity that has been given.

Deputising for the coordinator of the SheTrade Hub, Musu Ceesay, Mr. Kemo Janka, Senior Trade Economist at MoTIE who expressed delight at welcoming the new members to the Trade family, as well as their partners; ITC Gambia, Gambia Women Chamber of Commerce (GWCC) and Women Business Advocacy Group(WBAG).

She said the objective of the Hub is to enable MoTIE and ITC to continue their efforts to support women’s economic empowerment through trade.

Mr. Janka highlighted the activities of the Hub which include increasing the capacity and competitiveness of women entrepreneurs to enhance production and create more employment opportunities by fostering self-employment through access to finance, business development support, digitalisation, and support in public policy innovation. To kick start, Janka said, they have training lined up for the members on bookkeeping, packaging, quality, food safety, and digital literacy.

Delivering the closing remarks, the President of the Gambia Women Chamber of Commerce and also the Chairperson of the SheTrades Mrs. Naffie Barry affirmed that SheTrade is a global initiative that was brought to the country to facilitate the integration of Gambian women into the global economy.

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