SPBD Launches Operation in Vanuatu
THE South Pacific Business Development Microfinance Vanuatu Ltd (SPBD) has been officially launched and opened in Vanuatu yesterday.
The SPBD was launched by Reserve Bank of Vanuatu’s Director Accountant, Customer Service, Florinda Aru and the SPBD’s Founder. The Founder and President of the SPBD, Gregory Casagrande said they just started in Vanuatu five months ago.
“We have now trained over 1500 Ni-Vanuatu women and have provided them with over VT 75 million in unsecured credit. In 2017 we will continue to grow in the greater Vila area and in 2018 we will expand throughout Efate.
“Later we will try to expand so that eventually we will reach all the significant outer islands in Vanuatu. To each village we will bring our bundles of exclusive financial services to those living at the base in the economic pyramid and over time the breadth of this bundle of services will also expand to meet our growing needs.
“Within five years we should be working on at least five island groups within Vanuatu in serving well over 12,000 women micro entrepreneurs,” Mr Casagrande said.
He said that SPBD is a special company with a very strong, sincere and deep commitment to directly empowering under privileged women to start and grow small income generating businesses so that they can improve the overall wellbeing of their families.
“We do this by providing our members with small business training, unsecured credit and ongoing guidance and motivation to help them start and expand small income generating businesses. Once our lady entrepreneurs have their businesses running smoothly, we will also provide them with financing to help them with their housing condition and to help them finance their children’s primary, secondary and even their tertiary education,” he said.
Mr Casagrande said “we do all of this through weekly one hour meetings held in their home villages where our clients live. SPBD also provides our members with basic savings and insurance products as well as extensive ongoing financial literacy education.”
He said that it is putting together for their clients a simplified financial education and personal financial diary, services such as microfinance savings, microcredit and micro insurance and a small business venture and a great deal of ongoing guidance, encouragement and holding their motivation.
“Our women micro entrepreneurs are able to learn and permanently absorb their key credible financial skills that they need to improve the operations of their businesses and the financial long term wellbeing of their families. That is what being financial and empowered is all about,” he said.
Mr Casagrande said that SPBD is now in their 18th year of operations and begun quiet humbly in the year 2000 in Apia Samoa. Since then they have now grown to five countries, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Solomon Islands and now Vanuatu. They now operate 17 offices across the South Pacific and employ 170 Pacific Islanders. Through these offices their staff have work successfully with and have trained more than 60,000 women entrepreneurs. They have now provided these lady clients with more than VT 10 billion and unsecured financing to help them start businesses, improve homes and provide for their children’s education.
“That is what we call providing meaningful economic opportunity,” he said.