The South Pacific Business Development (SPBD) microfinance network has exceeded 200 million US dollars (419 million F) in micro-loans that have been disbursed to tens of thousands of women entrepreneurs since its creation in 2000.
According to a statement from the organization, the SPBD had disbursed 264,000 small loans to low-income entrepreneurs in the South Pacific, 99% of whom were women.
SPBD Fiji Director and General Manager Rico Munoz said he was very excited about their success in advancing financial inclusion through microfinance to improve people’s lives.
“In addition to our financial services, the continuous financial education that we have implemented over the past eight years has enabled our members to have more responsible and forward-looking saving and spending habits” , did he declare.
It was said that the SPBD had made over 57,000 loans worth US $ 35 million (F 73 million) in Fiji alone and employed 45 staff while operating six offices across the country. . Founder and Chairman Greg Casagrande said that since its launch in 2000, the SPBD has been committed to providing meaningful economic opportunities to disadvantaged women micro-entrepreneurs.
“While it took us 10 years to disburse the first $ 10 million ($ 20 million), today SPBD is disbursing $ 10 million in loans in less than 5 months. Therefore, our impact is also accelerating dramatically, ”he said.
“I am so happy that we just exceeded $ 200 million in disbursed loans. “
The SPBD said its staff will continue to support its members during this difficult time of COVID-19, as it has done since 2000.
The organization planned to expand and bring its successful microfinance products and services to women across the South Pacific.
He also planned to help them improve their standard of living and that of their families. Loreta Umu was a beneficiary of a loan from the SPBD.
According to the organization, she operated a retail store and ran a barbecue business outside her store in Savaii, Samoa.
Ms. Umu joined the SPBD in 2012 and over the years her success has enabled her to access the larger small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) funding from the SPBD. Yesterday, she received her third SME loan.
The organization said that with their support she had significantly improved her housing and living conditions.
“I started by selling fresh vegetables in front of our house, then sold homemade popsicles and barbecues before expanding my business to include my small store,” Ms. Umu said.
“I could not have done much without the SPBD because it is very difficult to get a loan from the banks.
“I firmly believe that SPBD has brought us to where we are now.
“My family and I lived in inadequate conditions and to improve our living space I used my loan. So much has become possible with SPBD.
“The advantage has not only been in terms of finances, but also things like savings, financial literacy, leadership and independence. “
The SPBD operates in five countries – Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, employing around 169 professionals.
The SPBD has 17 offices and offers 16 products and services, including credit, savings, death benefits, financial education and business skills training to its members.