The Micro-credit Program
The micro-credit movement which essentially started in Bangladesh in 1976, is now at work in over 50 counties in many forms and many versions. A version has even reached inner cities in the USA; and American President Bill Clinton has pledged to ask the US Congress for $1 Billion dollars over a five year period to develop micro-enterprise in the USA.
Micro-credit cannot solve all the social ills in any country but it is a "no-handout, inxepensive tool" that helps to alleviate poverty by assisting in building small business ventures.
Pinelands Enterprise Facilitation Services Inc. (PEFS) is the micro-credit arm of the Pinelands Creative Workshop. After an initial pilot phase which lasted for 2 years, a critical decision was made in November 1999 to formalise the process and establish a company ( as a subsidiary of Pinelands Inc.) dedicated to providing small loans and other business services to the micro enterprise businesses in the communities.
The PEFS is headed by C. Andy White a professional banker with 30 years experience in the financial services industry in New York City. The current loan portfolio has an outstanding balance of just over $210,000 which is owed by 75 clients. It is envisaged that by year end 2000 this will increase to $400,000 with a client base of 125-150 borrowers.
The PEFS currently has as its main funding source, the Government of Barbados' Social Investment Fund but is always looking for other funding agencies to assist in its loan program. After its first year of operation (end of 2000) several proposals will be made to regional and extra regional funding agencies for funds to expand the program.
The Directors, Management and Staff strongly believe that PEFS can serve all its communities and operate in a safe, sound and professional manner; be competitive, maintain an adequate level of capital and be self-sustaining in the short term.