Pinelands Creative Workshop's business enterprise thrust really began in earnest in 1995 with the partnership with Pedals for Progress on the Bicycle Project. The qualified success of this venture told the organisation that adding a business/commercial component to its already very successful and nationally acclaimed cultural and social enterprise programs was a viable and worthwhile endeavour.
The Bicycle Project taught, and is still teaching, the group many valuable lessons on the many pitfalls of running a business; but the fact that the project is still continuing is testimony that those lessons are being learnt.
The second major business enterprise project was the acquisition of a working bakery in 1999. The Amalgamated Baking Company Inc. was created to purchase and operate Pinelands Oven Fresh Bakery . The bakery was an ongoing concern when the purchase was made and PCW has continued with and improved on its operations. An annual 8% increase in sales revenue is projected over the next 5 years. The bakery also has plans to improve in inhouse deli operations and to strengthen the connection between itself and the Pinelands Meals-On-Wheels program.
In January 2000 the Pinelands Enterprise Facilitation Services Inc. (PEFS)was formed as a company to handle the micro-credit functions of the NEED Trust Fund. Originally the NEED Trust Fund had guaranteed repayment for a number of micro loans for community based entrepreneurs. These loans were issued and administered by a local bank. When the majority of these loans became delinquent and were subsequently charged off by the bank using PCW (NEED Trust Fund) monies, the loan clients automatically became indebted to PCW. PEFS was created to organise and give structure to a micro credit entity; originally to recover these delinquent loans and going forward to source funds to lend to other micro business persons. PEFS has been successful in both of these endeavours. The recovery rate for the older deliquent loans is now in excess of 60% and the company has lent another Bds $150,000 in new money, received from the Government's Social Investment Fund, to new clients. The repayment rate for these new clients is an excellent 85% . The will continue to attempt to source funds from government and private agencies in order that this program can be sustained.
As can be seen, PCW's Business Enterprise ventures are very varied in scope and each one has the potential to provide much needed income in the medium term to support the organisation's not-for-profit cultural and social enterprise.