BELfund Spearheads Efforts To Reduce Unemployment – St. Lucia Times

The content originally appeared on: St. Lucia Times News

Equity, Social Justice, and Empowerment Minister Hon. Joachim Henry is championing a new era of inclusivity in the granting of loans by BELfund, aimed at empowering traditionally marginalized Saint Lucians and fostering small business development to combat unemployment on the island.

Minister Henry, overseeing the 20-year-old James Belgrave Micro Enterprise Development Fund (BELfund), underscores the institution’s commitment to innovation in its mission to alleviate Saint Lucia’s unemployment challenges and promote the growth of small and micro-enterprises.

Minister Henry states, “BELfund is dedicated to providing financial support, offering up to $30,000 with a flexible payment plan, to nurture the dreams and ambitions of our local community. Recognizing that not everyone possesses readily available capital or assets for collateral, following a recent board decision, BELfund is now extending support to under-employed individuals, with a special focus on empowering all prospective entrepreneurs to meet loan eligibility criteria.”

In a bid to reach the unemployed, self-employed and most recently underemployed persons, BELfund has initiated community outreach programs, conducting on-the-spot interviews to streamline the application process.

In late 2023, BELfund’s Board of Directors identified the need to cater to underemployed individuals who faced challenges accessing financing from commercial banks.

Consequently, a decision was made to extend BELfund’s financial services to low-income employed individuals.

Distinguishing itself from traditional financial institutions, BELfund welcomes businesses across all legal categories, including service, trade, retail, distribution, manufacturing, tourism, agriculture, animal husbandry, agri-business, and agro-processing.

This inclusive approach underscores BELfund’s dedication to fostering a diverse and prosperous business environment for the underprivileged and vulnerable population on the island.

SOURCE: Ministry of Equity, Social Justice & Empowerment