What has worked regarding fostering the entrepreneurial ecosystem in The Gambia? How are shortcomings and gaps addressed by the Andandorr Programme? The International Trade Centre (ITC) Gambia and The Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (GIEPA) have published an article providing exciting insights from over 3 years’ work in the area of training and business development services. By analysing approaches which have proven successful in unlocking entrepreneurship potential as well as ones being less effective, the authors present the role of the Andandorr Programme by the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP).

Over the past 3.5 years, the International Trade Centre and different business support organisations have provided entrepreneurship support to over 3,000 young Gambians. High quality short-term trainings, the strengthening of trade related institutions, incubation programmes and business development services combined with grant schemes and networking opportunities have delivered substantial improvements. However, few start-ups in The Gambia currently scale up due to different obstacles. The authors identify factors limiting the effectiveness of training and support services and thereby constricting growth in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. These are, among others, the lack of follow-up support after isolated short-term trainings, the lack of programmes for advanced entrepreneurs and the lack of quality control, specialisation and coordination of business service organisations.

The Andandorr Programme, launched in July 2020, addresses these challenges in the entrepreneurial ecosystem in The Gambia. The pilot programme focuses on coordination between business service organizations and the creation of more consistent, long-term support for young entrepreneurs spanning over different institutions and organisations.

The authors state: “At the core of the programme stands the idea of partnership (Andandorr means partnership in Wolof)– partnership between the BSOs in developing the pilot, selecting participants, and running the programmes, and sharing data on participants; as well as between the participating entrepreneurs, who are expected to network with other Andandorr entrepreneurs, support one another, and seek business collaborations.”

The programme’s goals are facilitated by two main components. The first is the implementation of a common customer relationship management (CRM) system. It will allow for an ecosystem wide tracking of entrepreneurs, the support they received and their progress to evaluate further needs and to reduce overlaps of trainings. The second component is a structured series of support services that take entrepreneurs from the idea stage to the internationalisation of their businesses. This long-term programme aims to go beyond short-term trainings and to offer support throughout all stages of the entrepreneurship. By combining and sequencing offerings from different institutions, the participating organisations intend to better synergise activities and increase clarity for entrepreneurs on where to find what type of support.

Read the full article reflecting on training and business development services in the Gambia by Sadibou Jammeh, Fatou Mbenga Jallow and Elena Mayer-Besting on LinkedIn here.

We are looking forward to your participation in the debate, hearing experiences from elsewhere and your ideas!

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