KOTU, THE GAMBIA – Malick M. Jarju was selected as a finalist to represent his company Africa Energy Solutions (AES) in the 20th annual Harvard Business School Africa Business Club New Venture Competition, to be held on March 2nd on the campus of Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts. The New Venture Competition is part of the Harvard Business School Africa Club’s three-day conference, bringing together business leaders across the continent of Africa, who share a passion for development and innovation.
Out of a pool of hundreds of applicants, Mr. Jarju was one of 10 finalists selected to pitch his business to a panel of experienced judges and 700 attendees. The winner of the competition will get a cash prize of $10,000 and the runner-up will get $5,000. As a finalist, Mr. Jarju will get the opportunity to participate in workshops with Harvard Business School faculty and other people from relevant business fields to get valuable advice and learn about ways he can grow his business.
Pioneered from Mr. Jarju’s bedroom in 2014, AES has seen growth over the years – from being named a finalist in the Gambian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s 2016 Emerging Businesses of the year, to expanding to neighboring countries in the region. Although AES has seen regional growth, Mr. Jarju points out that: “attending the conference would avail our company the opportunity to expose our brand, network, build partnerships, and most importantly be able to pitch our business to a cross section of individuals and companies across Africa/the globe, in trying to capture new markets and
Attending the conference also presents an opportunity for a Gambian business to be present in important global discussions on business developments in Africa. When asked about this Mr. Jarju responded:
“Yes it is true that I entered to the competition through my humble self and company, but I see this with a bigger picture of representing the Mother Land, Gambia which has contributed so much to the person I am and my business. So in actual truth it’s The Gambia’s name and flag we shall carry along; knowing that should be personal motivation in aiming higher but also in instilling hope among youth, that despite being a small country Gambia has so much to offer. Yes! In terms of who I am representing at the conference it’s Gambia first, then our company, followed by the youth of The Gambia, and lastly my humble self.”
In the 20 years that it has been held, the Harvard Business School Africa Business Conference has brought together experienced business professionals, and it has connected over 10,000 people. Pitching his business in front of such an experienced and esteemed crowd will help Mr. Jarju take AES to new heights, and as he noted, it will help establish Gambia’s presence in the global sphere.
Mr Jarju was nominated by MakalliMatta Consulting (MMC), a global communications and Gambia business set-up facilitating firm. “When the Harvard Business School Africa Club contacted us to help them pinpoint SEMs to nominate, we sent the criteria to a few and we are happy to have a Gambian business shortlisted for such a prestigious honor. At MMC, our work revolves around Brand Gambia and promoting our beautiful and promising country on the world stage. Gambians are truly brilliant people and with the right opportunity and a conducive business environment, we can be a power to reckon with on the world stage” says, Khadijah Aja Tambajang, the founder and Lead Consultant of MMC.
Mr. Jarju and Khadijah Aja Tambajang, who is on a ‘Women, Media and Africa” panel at the event, will be attending the conference together.