$300,000 In Business Grants Awarded To 18 Women

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The Un Capital Development Fund Uncdf
The Un Capital Development Fund Uncdf

(Banjul) – Eighteen women have been awarded a total of US $300,000 in small business grants. Within three months, they have already invested in new equipment, expanded operations, and created jobs.

As part of the programme, run by the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), the entrepreneurs received business coaching as well as digital and financial literacy courses. They were also set up to use e-payment systems and the Afrijula e-commerce platform. This allows them to manage their finances while strengthening their outreach and customer base.

‘The MSME grant financing not only provided us with financial assistance but also opened doors to networking opportunities, digitization, and strengthening of capacities. It has been a holistic support system that has empowered us to thrive in the competitive business,’ said Isatou Njie, CEO of Gambricks.

Her business used the grant to invest in new machinery that increased the production of bricks by 25%. Among the other successes, clothing maker K Creations converted completely to solar power. Herbal tea producer Yaxare and fashion designer Dignified now run 70% of their machines on solar, saving GMD16,000 a month on electricity costs.

The grants were made through the Jobs, Skills and Finance (JSF) Programme, a collaboration between ITC and UNCDF. The partnership facilitates comprehensive economic support through access to finance; quality and relevant business development services; and digital and financial literacy.

Under the leadership of the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment, the grant committee included representatives from:

GWCC (Gambia Women’s Chamber of Commerce)
GCCI (Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry)
GIEPA (Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency)
GYCC (Gambia Youth Chamber of Commerce)
Kemo Representative of the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment (MOTRIE): ‘The MSME grant financing and its operational mechanism was a game-changer for our women entrepreneurs. It enabled them to upgrade productive machines, expand business operations, and launch new product lines. We are grateful to the JSF program and EU for the support, which has inspired us to provide similar structured support to other MSMEs.’

The JSF model employed in the selection and disbursement of grants proved very effective, fostering strong collaboration in the entrepreneurship and business development spaces.

‘We focus on collaborative and innovative approaches to youth and women economic empowerment,’ Yusupha Keita, technical advisor and coordinator for the Jobs, Skills and Finance Programme. ‘At ITC we are committed to going to the last mile. This has been demonstrated in the support of women-owned businesses, but also in other socioeconomic support programmes to ensure a positive impact.’

Notes for the Editor

About the Implementing partners

About the International Trade Centre – The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transitioning economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

For more information, visit www.intracen.org.

Follow ITC on X | Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram | Flickr

The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) – The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) is the United Nations’ flagship catalytic financing entity for the world’s 46 Least Developed Countries (LDCs). With its unique capital mandate and focus on the LDCs, UNCDF works to invest and catalyse capital to support these countries in achieving the sustainable growth and inclusiveness envisioned by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Doha Programme of Action for the least developed countries, 2022–2031.

Jobs, Skills and Finance (JSF) Programme for Women and Youth – The Jobs, Skills and Finance (JSF) for Women and Youth in The Gambia Programme funded by the 11th European Development Fund is implemented by the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) in collaboration with the International Trade Centre (ITC). The programme seeks to enhance the economic empowerment of women and youth through job creation, inclusive financing and employability skills.

The European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa – The European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) supports all aspects of stability and contributes to addressing destabilization, forced displacement and irregular migration by promoting resilience, economic and equal opportunities, security and development, and the improvement and implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies. The EUTF aims at improving living conditions in Africa. It seeks to help people live in a peaceful and stable environment and to work in dignity.

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