International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
This year BusinessInGambia team participated in a different style. We requested some of the most successful women entrepreneurs in the Gambia to share business tips with young women. We also use this platform to assure our commitment to support women entrepreneurs.
What is your number one advice to young women who want to start a business in the Gambia?
That was the question we asked, and below are their responses in no particular order.
Fatou Saine Gaye
Executive Director Gaye Njorro Skills Academy
You must believe in yourself and appreciate that there are lots of opportunities around. Look for problems and turn them into business opportunities. You must be determined, focus and be self-reliant.
Fatou is the Executive Director of Gaye Njorro Skills Academy located at Brusibi Turntable and Farafenni Annex. Her slogan is to get youth off the street with marketable skills, independent and contribute to the national development. She also works to discourage illegal migration through skills training. Fatou is the Social Award Winner 2016 in Kenya by UNCTAD Women in Business Awards. She is a UNCTAD EMPRETEC trainer in Entrepreneurship development and has trained entrepreneurs worldwide on behavioural and economic growth.
Visit her website here to learn more.
Lucy M Fye
CEO & Senior Advisor Fyen Consulting Services
Think and execute. Before you start any business, it is critical you think about the business model, create a plan and execute it.
Lucy is an Economist and CEO of Fyen Consulting a minority, woman-owned top global management consulting firm that provides hands-on management and advisory services to governments and private sector. After working for the Government of The Gambia for 15 years, Lucy moved to the USA where she worked for UN and World Bank Group. A two-time graduate of Harvard University (Law School and Kennedy School of Government), Lucy is strong African woman who also speaks five languages including Swahili, Wolof and Swedish. Her expertise includes public-private partnerships, privatization, regulation, export competitiveness, trade, logistics, investment promotion and entrepreneurship development.
Visit Lyen Consulting website for details
Creative Director NFC
Believe in yourself and know your true goal. Work hard to achieve it and stand up to fear. You will experience times where you can clearly see the right direction. Don’t worry about money, because if you do the work, the money will come.
Ndeyfatou Ceesay is a Gambian fashion designer and Creative Director of NFC. After feeling uninspired in her previous jobs, she knew something had to change and decided to quit her job. Ndeyfatou turned her passion for creativity and design into a full-time international fashion business. She has attended many international events such as Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kenya, Africa Fashion Week London, and the Creative Business Cup in Copenhagen. We had an interesting interview with NdeyFatou in 2017.
Visit her Instagram
Founder, Toukki Man Ltd
Do not wait for funding to start your business. Start with the money you have. It is important to constantly seek customer feedbacks and perform self-assessments to improve your business. As an entrepreneur, giving up should not be an option. If you face challenges, reorganize yourself and developed new strategies.
Durosome Taylor is the Founder of Toukki Man Ltd a transport and logistics company. The firm operates shuttle vans and secure courier service between Banjul and Dakar, three days a week. While working abroad, Duroseme experienced the journey between Dakar and Banjul to be hectic and even unsafe. She felt there was something she could do to solve the problem and that was how she conceived the idea of Toukki Man. The firm was founded in 2016, five years after submitting to the AmCham business plan competition in 2011.
Follow Toukki Man on Facebook
CEO Afriqcars Motors
Make sure you know and fully understand the craft you want to explore. Learn daily on how to manage the business and produce products that will be your pride and joy. Stay focus on making it work on a long-term basis, therefore minimize the personal expenses while targeting to make your investment worth your time. “My personal secret is #knowyourvalue, make a clear commitment to your business, for example “at the end of the 5th year in business, I want to be worth X million” and go for it.
Lilian is the Chief Executive Officer of Afriqcars Motors a one-stop transport solutions company in the Gambia. A young woman in a male-dominated business, Lilian’s goal is to be different from the competitors. She stays on top of the game by standing out of the crowd through quality products, best customer services, conducive office environment for her clients and employees. Afriqcars can be rated as number one in the Gambia at the moment and to achieve this, it took six good years of consistent hard work of the entire team and excellent service delivery. “We do not compromise when it comes to the standard of our car rental products, this is our core value,” said Lilian”.
Visit Afriqcars website for more details.
Ya Awa Conateh
CEO Yaws Creations
Do not just start a business because you see Fatou or Awa getting successful in that type of business. You should naturally love the project or business idea, in other words, you should be passionate about the business. You should do a thorough research on the market and the sector, talk to few successful people in similar business for advice and most importantly start small and grow big.
About Ya Awa Conateh
Ya Awa is the CEO of Yaws Creations at the heartbeat of Brufut and a force to reckon with in fashion and decor world. She is very passionate about creativity and empowerment of young girls. Ya Awa is striving harder to give a meaningful community enhancement by having a charity call SCAF that is set up to raise cancer awareness in The Gambia through campaigns and workshops. In 2017, she celebrated her 10th anniversary in the fashion business.
Learn more about Yaws Creations at their website.
Founder and CEO of IC Business Solutions
Follow your passion and get into businesses you have a strong interest in. Due to the simple fact that there will be hurdles along the way thus if you are not passionate about the task at hand, the tendency to give up will be imminent. However, if you remain persistent and keep working hard towards your goals, success will definitely be achieved.
Isatou is the Founder and CEO of IC Business Solutions a consulting firm that provides tax, accounting, finance, software implementation, training and other business advisory services. She has amassed a wealth of experience in corporate finance, banking, capital raising, strategic management, marketing strategy, taxation, accounting and project management.
Isatou has worked in the USA for over 15 years including WorldPay US, where she served as a Senior Financial Analyst and American Software as a Senior Revenue Accountant. Her most recent role was with GTBank Gambia Ltd as Senior Banking Officer- Financial Control and later the Assistant Country Head-SME Banking. Isatou spearheaded the creation of the bank’s Small & Medium Enterprises Unit. She holds MBA from Kennesaw State University and two Bachelor’s Degrees in Accounting and Finance from Valdosta State University in Kennesaw and Valdosta, Georgia, USA respectively.
Connect with Isatou on LinkedIn.
Jainaba B Ceesay
Founder and CEO EBROSSO Consulting
My advice for young women looking to start a business is to do adequate market research for the services or products you intend to sell, develop a value proposition that differentiates you from the competition and seek a board of advisory of successful business owners to guide and mentor you through the process.
About Jainaba B Ceesay
Jainaba B Ceesay, Gambian native living in the U.S.A, is the founder and CEO of EBROSSO Consulting. She holds an Executive MBA from the Robert H Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is a 17- year leadership, coaching, banking and finance expert and had worked at two major financial institutions in Washington D.C. Ms. Ceesay is also an Adjunct Professor at the College of Business at Bowie State University, where she lectures entrepreneurs and students on building businesses and marketing their products and services. She is the Global Advisor for the Global Chamber for The Gambia and West Africa Region.
EBROSSO Consulting is a global management consulting based in the Washington, DC area that supports individuals, small businesses and global organizations to create and execute strategies for success. They help institutions to create an improved organizational design, business processes and strategic plan.
Visit EBROSSO Consulting website for details.
Creative Director Daraja
Never hesitate to start a business you are passionate about and go into it with full confidence from the beginning. It is all about the mindset. That is what drives you to success! If you feel you have a good business idea start small and dream big. The most important thing is to START and seek advice where needed.
Adiatou Conteh is the proprietress and Creative Director of Daraja. Daraja is a retail brand that specializes in bespoke handmade leather bags made in the Gambia. They work with the local artisans to produce high-quality leather products at competitively low prices. Currently, the firm sells from 3 outlets in the Gambia which are: Silhouette located @ The Village Plaza, Tiga @ Djembeh Hotel and lilleos located on the new Kololi Highway. The business started 2 years ago, and earlier this year Gambia Fashion Awards nominated Daraja for best Accessory/Non-Clothing Brand.
See Daraja Collections on Instagram
9 Gambian Women Entrepreneurs have just given you over 20 different strategies to start and grow your business, but before you go, let’s remind ourselves about the celebration of the day. Okey Umeano, the Chief Risk Officer at Nigeria Securities and Exchange Commission once said:
Tackling widespread gender disparity in economies, education, leadership and politics will free up Africa’s most underused resource – its women.
A new McKinsey Global Institute report also finds that $12 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025 by advancing women’s equality. The public, private, and social sectors will need to act to close gender gaps in work and society.
Therefore, it does not matter your gender, job or background, make a difference and make every day International Women’s Day. Do your bit to ensure that the future for girls is bright, equal, safe and rewarding. Let us #PressForPgoress and create gender parity environment.
You can take two action points right now, share this article with someone or share your advice with us in the comment box below.
Once again every day is a women day until we achieve gender parity society.