BELfund Spearheads Efforts to Reduce Unemployment and Empower Entrepreneurs

Minister for Equity, Social Justice, and Empowerment Joachim Henry is championing a new era of inclusivity in the granting of loans by BELfund.

The project is aimed at empowering traditionally marginalized Saint Lucians and fostering small business development to combat unemployment on the island.

Overseeing the 20-year-old James Belgrave Micro Enterprise Development Fund (BELfund), Henry 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.

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.

“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 recently underemployed persons, BELfund has initiated community outreach programmes, 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.

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