BELfund Spearheads Efforts To Empower Entrepreneurs

BELfund now extends to support under-employed individuals in a bid to empower prospective entrepreneurs.
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Castries, St. Lucia – The Minister for Equity, Social Justice, and Empowerment, Hon. Joachim Henry, has championed a new era of inclusivity with loan grants through BELfund that aims to empower traditionally-marginalized Saint Lucians and foster small business development to combat unemployment on the island.

BELfund now extends to support under-employed individuals in a bid to empower prospective entrepreneurs.

Minister Henry, who oversees the 20-year-old James Belgrave Micro Enterprise Development Fund (BELfund), underscored 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.

“BELfund is dedicated to the provision of financial support and offers up to $30,000 with a flexible payment plan to nurture the dreams and ambitions of our local community,” the minister said. “We recognize that not everyone possesses readily-available capital or assets for collateral. Following a recent board decision, BELfund now extends 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, and conducted 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 in accessing financing from commercial banks. Consequently, a decision was made to extend BELfund’s financial services to low-income employed individuals.

Distinguished 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. Its inclusive approach underscores BELfund’s dedication to foster a diverse and prosperous business environment for underprivileged and vulnerable groups on the island.

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