On August 5, 2021, we wrapped up our Business Training & Mentoring Program for Gambian youth! In the Gambia, youth make up a large portion of the population; however, there are not many avenues available, therefore leading to high youth unemployment. Our business training program sought to provide youth with better opportunities by providing entrepreneurship training and mentorship. This training included topics such as idea generation, marketing and sales, building a business model and executing their business plan.
Over the course of the 8 week program, our team worked on linking volunteers from Walmart Labs, Salesforce, Netflix, Apple, Docusign and more, with youth in the Gambia who participated in the training program. We feel so grateful to have worked with such bright young adults so we wanted to introduce you to some of them:
Haddy Nyang is a 24 year old political science student at the University of The Gambia. When not in school, Haddy works as a sales agent at a cosmetics company. Haddy has been interested in entrepreneurship for some time and even ventured to start her own business. During the program, Haddy had a powerful connection with one of V2I’s mentors after hearing about his multiple attempts to start and grow various businesses. Like the mentor, her last business venture didn’t work out, so through hearing his story, she was able to see that not all business ventures will be the right one for the entrepreneur and the community at that time. Haddy knows that entrepreneurs have perseverance, and this knowledge motivated Haddy to try again. She now looks forward to building a new business in the food industry by using the skills she gained through the program.
When commenting on the program, Haddy said, “For me, being self-employed and being able to employ young Gambians has always been a dream, so I joined this program to expand my knowledge on how to meet my target customers, how to properly brand my business, and to help me in identifying ways to help rebuild my business.”
Haddy feels she gained valuable experience from the training and is motivated to start her own entrepreneurship journey after speaking to her mentors about their experiences!
Joe Soya Bongay is an environmental activist and a trained professional of the Social & Environmental Sector in Planning and Management. He is currently the Executive Director at Young Volunteers for the Environment (YVE), a registered youth-led non-profit organization that predominantly advocates for environmental sustainability, calling for urgent action on nature crises and climate emergency.
Joe join the business training and mentorship program to better equip himself and build the skills needed to become a successful business owner that creates decent work, strengthens communities, and drives inclusive economic growth.
When reflecting on the program, Joe comments, “The training has helped me build my capacity to make sound business and financial decisions while developing life skills and principles that foster leadership and commitment. The knowledge and skills gained combined with financial solutions, gives me the tools needed to increase my income and expand my business now and into the future.”
Looking to the future, Joe feels “very confident now with the acquired skills and knowledge availing [him] the ability to craft exceptional business plans, increase [his] management skills, and also to maximize streams of profit and complete marketing strategies well!”
Abdoulie Sissoko is a student from the Gambia who also volunteers with the Red Cross. Before entering the program, Abdoulie saw the challenges facing youth in finding empowerment and opportunities and had never heard of entrepreneurship or known it to be a viable path for youth like himself.
This program was Abdoulie’s first exposure to entrepreneurship. He enjoyed learning how to develop a business plan, how to offer a good or service that is suitable for the community, how to utilize marketing and sales techniques, and more!
After the program, Abdoulie sees himself moving forward to help those in his community with his new skills.
We feel so grateful to have worked with youth like Haddy, Joe and Abdoulie and can’t wait to see what the future brings them!