Omar Jallow

A Gambian social entrepreneur is among seven Africans who will take the centre-stage at this year’s World Export Development Forum (WEDF) to pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges with a chance of winning seed funding to develop or scale up their projects.

Omar Jallow from Basori Village, Kombo East, and other participants from Ghana, Rwanda, Zambia, and Mali – were selected by the International Trade Centre (ITC) in collaboration with partners including Impact Hub Geneva’s Accelerate 2030 programme and Nyamuka Zambia.

Mr Jallow represents Green Hectares Farm, a company that produces fresh fruits and vegetables and supports smallholders with training, market linkages and loans to access inputs such as fertilizers and seeds.

He is committed to helping farmers earn a decent income. Green Hectares Farm aims to increase the yield and income of 200 smallholders and utilize a mobile platform to match their needs.

As part of the competition, Mr Jallow and his fellow contestants will have their business cases assessed by a panel of judges that includes Parminder Vir, Chief Executive Officer of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, and Michael Ocansey, founder of AgroCenta, a Ghanaian start-up that won the 2017 Young Social Entrepreneurs Competition.

The judges will make their assessment based on the business ideas’ value proposition, social impact, market potential, team strength, and financial model.

This pitching competition is an initiative of ITC’s Youth and Trade programme, which aims to connect young social entrepreneurs to markets and support social entrepreneurship as a way of contributing to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4, on quality education, and Goal 8, on sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

The 2018 World Export Development Forum – themed Scaling Up Through Trade: Skill, Innovate, Connect – is organized by the ITC in partnership with Zambia’s Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry and will be held in Lusaka on 11-12 September.

A key component of WEDF will be highlighting the role of youth in Africa in supporting trade-led growth and entrepreneurship; as well as how young people can contribute to the implementation of the Continental Free Trade Agreement (CFTA).