Ya Penda Bah: A Woman Challenging The Odds To Scale Up In The Industrial Sector Of The Gambia

Working hard and being inspired to make a difference is one of the many things that drive women to take up the business world.  In the Gambia, women have been a core value to the county’s business sector for many years. From petty business to building reputable companies, Gambian women are not slowing down in any way.

On The Sisters Show spotlight, we are featuring a trailblazer—a woman set to have her share on the piece of the cake in business, Ya Penda Bah.

Ya Penda Bah is the founder of Industrial Maintenance Services- The Gambia. For the last year, the company “has provided cost-effective and reliable solutions to its clients and executed all kinds of maintenance projects like construction, mechanical, electrical, industrial cleaning, welding, plumbing, offices, houses, companies, and boreholes, etc.”.

In an interview with  Ya Penda, she shared her story, challenges and how she overcame them.

Yea Penda talks to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health-The Gambia, during an inauguration ceremony at The Riders For health head office.

Yea Penda talks to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health-The Gambia, during an inauguration ceremony at The Riders For health head office.

This interview has been edited for clarity purposes.

 

The Sisters Show

Tell us your story. How did IMS start?

Ya Penda Bah

I worked in the retail industry with many companies, from normal sales assistant, supervisor, and assistant manager to a manager position. So having that experience of customer service working in the retail sector for so long, that customer service and the way it is in the U.K is what I want to bring in the Gambia that’s what inspired me to come up with IMS. 

The Sisters Show

As a woman in business, challenges are part of the journey. What are some of the notable milestones and challenges you have encountered since you started IMS?

Ya Penda Bah 

Limited funding: Funding is crucial to start a business. However, many Gambian women who do not have property or assets to their names encounter problems applying for a loan due to lack of collateral.

Worklife balance: women are expected to play a more significant part in handling a household, and thus, for women, work-life balance can become a problem as a working mother taking care of your children take up a lot of time and energy, thereby often forcing me to give less priority to my business. 

The Sisters Show

If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning this journey, what would it be? What was the biggest rookie mistake you made when you started this business?

Ya Penda Bah

 Ah Yeah, I was a little bit nervous about it before I started running this company. Still, I believe in myself and the experience I had in the retail industry in the U.K, plus the motivation from my family with the help of almighty.

I didn’t regret anything about this because I always believe there’s more home, though it’s good to travel and see or have experience we shouldn’t forget where we came from because it is always good to be back and invest in your country and each other.

The Sisters Show

Take us back a bit; who is Penda, and did you always want to get into industrial work? 

Ya Penda Bah

Ya penda is a mother and a very hard working woman, honest, ambitious person. I enjoy working in a team and working independently.  Industrial work is all I know. I have 15 years of operational experience in the retail industry in the U.K. I always feel there is more home, and with that feeling, been in the U.K for so many years, now I am back home to do what I know.  

The Sisters Show

What is the industrial business environment like in The Gambia, and what do you think should be adjusted? 

Ya Penda Bah

The industrial business in the Gambia is coming up nowadays. Recently we have seen women engage themselves, for example; e.g.  Fashion and beauty. Fashion and beauty are industries that continue to grow worldwide; with good ideas and hot selling products, you are sure to make some money in the fashion and beauty business. Whatever business idea you want to adopt, remember you have to be solving someone’s need. These businesses can be operated as a side business with your current job and some required shop. Real estate agents are also there improving the industrial business in The Gambia. 

The Sisters Show

What is your business doing, in particular, to create more employment among youths? 

Ya Penda Bah

IMS, we are creating job opportunities for youth who have skills in our areas of services like; most of our ongoing project works are done by Gambian youth who are well skilled and is their area of the profession.

The Sisters Show

Anything else you want to share with us? 

Ya Penda Bah

We already have some finished projects we have done example: riders for health, Jah Oil, Maawis farm, and Aladine, which is an ongoing project. I am calling on my fellow entrepreneurs and more prominent companies to collaborate with us to support their sister to promote women empowerment and great jobs.

 

To connect with IMS, you can find them on  Facebook or call 00220 5131000,  00220 5305900, 00220 2224229, or better still, Email them at: IMSSERVICESLIMITED@GMAIL.COM

 

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