By Sailu Bah
Gambia investment and Export Promotion Agency(GIEPA) in close collaboration with the Ministry of Trade, regional integration and Employment (MOTIE) and other stakeholders,held a press briefing on business plan completion, media and publicity strategy.
This occasion was held on Wednesday 8 October 2014 at the GIEPA House in Kairaba Avenue. The business plan will be officially launched on the 9th October 2014, at the Kairaba Beach hotel and the registration for the completion has opened until the end of December in which the completion will be taking place.
The business growth competition started last year, and two people were awarded at the end of the competition.
Chairing the Occasion Anna Wadda, Economist at MOTIE, referred to the occasion as a media cocktail discussion and added that it is also part of the mandate of MOTIE to help Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises to develop their businesses.
Madam Naffie Barry, the Permanent Secretary, MOTIE said that the competition is geared towards involving all Gambians especially people involved in business to develop their capacities in order to develop their businesses to another level. “The Business plan completion is part of the Gambia Government’s initiative to foster economic growth through business development services, entrepreneurship and innovation. This annual business plan competition aims to unlock new business ideas, solutions and opportunities by awarding the best business plans and ideas ready to be commercialized and create employment opportunities,” explained Madam Barry.
PS Barry added that to finance this initiative, winners will be given additional support and guidance on how to improve their plans and put them into action by identifying coaches to each selected candidate.
Modou Njie, Matching Grants Fund Manager, Gambia Growth & Competitiveness Project (GGCP), said that the occasion is to make partnership with the media for awareness creation.
“This initiative is led by the government but in the future it will be led by the private sector,” he revealed.
Mr. Njie explained the organization and coordination of the business plan competition. He added that the completion will be organized by a team of experts representing different institutions of government and private sector. He said that the team would be responsible for the management of the entire process, including the identification and engagement of potential partnership for the execution of this initiative.
“Successful implementation of the business plan competition would require resources; and mobilizing resources would also require building partnership with interested institutions and projects that have similar agendas. Thus, the need to partner with the GSM operators and local commercial banks to sponsor the winning prizes amongst others. This enhances competition. On the one hand it serves as an advertising tool and on the other as a form of corporate social responsibility,” noted Modou Njie, Matching Grants Fund Manager, Gambia Growth & Competitiveness Project .
Lamin Danfa, Director of Industry MOTIE, said the main objective of this initiative is to invite Small and Medium Enterprises, Youth, Women, Civil Society organizations and all individuals with a valuable product or a serviceable idea across the Gambia to put in project proposals.
“The Primary Target groups are SMEs, Youth, Women, Civil Society organizations and all individuals with a valuable product or a serviceable idea. The secondary target groups are development partners, government agencies, financial institutions, academic institutions, private sector, membership business/Trade associations General Public,” he outlined.
Suwaibou Cham, Manager, Research and Survey, said that in the Gambia, very few businesses have business plans. He added that this initiative will help develop corner shop to many other outlets.
“This will help in giving ideas to Small businesses to develop with or without winning in the competition,” he opined.
In conclusion, Suwaibou said the judges are professionals who would come from various business backgrounds and they include experienced investors, bankers, entrepreneurs and senior government officials and service professionals. “Each judge would be an expert in business and/or private sector development including the process of starting a business,” he said.