The Grenada Public Service Co-operative Credit Union officially launched its Micro Finance Programme at the Marketing & National Importing Board’s Mango Festival on July 30.
The Credit Union introduced the MiFi (Micro-Finance) Loan product approximately one year ago and has assisted some 300 persons to date.
Samuel Andrew, a member of the credit union and a recipient of a MIFI Loan, captured the award of Most outstanding Rural Entrepreneur on June 3 at the third annual Citi-Foundation-Caribbean Microfinance Alliance (Citi-CMFA) awards ceremony held in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
He was awarded for his success in establishing and running Hilltop Farms in Harford Village, St. Andrew.
Hill Top Farms is a Micro enterprise which benefits the community of Harford Village as well as the entrepreneur.
Andrews provides employment to villagers on his farm and makes contributions to community events and initiatives.
The most notable benefit of all however, is the changing of the mindset of farming, from a pastime of the uneducated and under-employed to a viable business which can boost the standard of living and create opportunities for personal and professional advancement.
Andrews attributes his success to membership in the Credit Union and the support of his Lending Officer, internal motivation, diligence, good planning and customers.
Andrews was determined to realise his dream and was not afraid to work hard on this venture.
His farm is equipped with an efficient irrigation system and amenities which promote healthy crops and maximise yield.
The MiFi initiative was implemented with the creation of a Micro Finance Unit within the Credit Union.
This product serves small entrepreneurs with access to loans in a timely manner for the purposes of working capital.
GPSCCU President, Phillip Telesford, describes MiFi as GPSCCU’s stimulus package for the local economy, since it is an avenue for employment for youth, skilled persons and entrepreneurs.
The GPSCCU views entrepreneurship as a vehicle to steady the rough tides that rock the Grenadian economy and stands proudly behind entrepreneurs with mentorship and skills training support for the persons in this programme.
The MiFi’s goal is to “power your business”, and as most entrepreneurs experience many challenges by owning and operating their own business e.g availability of resources and labour, the GPSCCU decided to lend a helping hand to empower entrepreneurs in the area of financing and technical support.
The Caribbean Microfinance Forum, was held under the theme ‘Building an Environment for Entrepreneurs to Excel”.
It was held in Montego Bay, Jamaica, and funded by the Multilateral Investment Fund, the European Union, the Caribbean Development Bank and Citi Foundation to develop the microfinance industry in the English-speaking Caribbean.
The forum was attended by 155 delegates and presenters from the Caribbean, North America, Europe, Pacific, Asia, Fiji and Africa.