Despite face coverings, the smiles are clear from their eyes: Mohammed S. and his coach, economist Ismael Santos Pulido, are meeting for the first time on this Thursday at the beginning of June – and immediately get on well. Before, they only knew each other from phone calls. Over a month ago, Mohammed S. completed a business start-up training course run by the coach from Social Impact StartHope@Home. Personal meetings were limited during the corona pandemic, so they have worked together by phone until now. Initially it was twice a week, and then for an hour a day. "I work every day on the plan for my new business in Gambia."
"Mohammed is very motivated", says Santos Pulido full of praise, "and we're working hard to discuss as many issues as possible before he goes back." It is still not clear exactly when the Gambian can travel to be with his wife and their four children. After almost five years in Europe, however, Mohammed S. hopes he will soon be back with his family in his native region of Sare Hamady. There, in eastern Gambia, he wants to open a small shop selling food and other everyday items. Mohammed S. ran a small shop even before he left Gambia. "But I made some mistakes, and I was a bit naive", he says. "What I'm learning now will help me make better decisions and run my business successfully."