On Wednesday July 21nd, 2022, staff, clients and well-wishers joined in commemorating the 22nd Anniversary of Operations of the James Belgrave Micro Enterprise Development Fund (BELfund).
A statutory agency of the Ministry of Equity, Social Justice and Empowerment, the BELfund was named after St. Lucia’s best-known philanthropist and champion of the poor, deceased James Alexander Belgrave, whose aim was always ‘to make ladies and gentlemen of the common girl and boy on the streets.’ The BELfund was incorporated under the Companies Act of Saint Lucia on December 19, 1999 and opened its doors to the public on May 30, 2000. To date, the age range of beneficiaries from the BELfund’s programme of assistance is from 18 years to 74 years. However, of the total number of persons to have benefitted from the programme, over 50% are young persons between the ages of 18 – 35 years old.
BELfund’s core mandate is to promote and encourage sustainable micro enterprise development through the provision of financing start-up assistance in the form of soft loans to enterprising Saint Lucians.
Manager, Ms. Amanda Delima noted that the 22nd anniversary milestone presented an opportunity for reflection on the progress of the organization, as it provides deprived Saint Lucians an opportunity for self-improvement and economic advancement.
“This is a very special occasion for us at the BELfund and I am particularly pleased to reflect on the last 22 years this organization has been able to assist entrepreneurial minds from as early as 18 years and above to realize their dreams and business goals. We are proud to offer loans to individual who are self-employed as well as unemployed. At BELfund, we target the traditional economic sectors such as agriculture, tourism, manufacturing or that unique private business interest. We encourage Saint Lucians from all walks of life to come in and discuss their ideas with us.” explained Delima.
The BELfund in partnership with the Saint Lucia Social Development Fund (SSDF) is in the process of unveiling a Social Investment Programme geared at further reducing poverty among vulnerable and marginalized single parents, by issuing micro enterprise loans to them.