The overall objective of BEST’s Micro and Small Enterprise Credit Scheme is to support small scale productive projects for low income families in the Belize and Cayo districts. This Scheme provides the following:
- Short and medium term loans to low income individuals and groups in the Belize and Cayo districts;
- Strengthen borrowers capacity by providing training, marketing support and business development; and
- Target fifty (50) percent of project funds to women, who traditionally have found it difficult to access financing.
The Micro and Small Enterprise Credit Scheme resources come from:
- Original financing by the Inter-American Development Bank;
- Financing from the European Union, through the Social Investment Fund of Belize;
- Financing by the Republic of China, through its Small Farm holders Financing Scheme;
- Financing by the Anglican Diocese of Belize;
- Interest and administrative charges placed on the loans; and
- Reflows of principal from the loan portfolio.
Individuals or group may access a loan for any feasible productive activity that is legal. The loan should be invested in an enterprise which promotes Belizean values and which contributes to the sustainable use of the environment. Loans are provided for both working capital and fixed assets.
Businesses eligible for financing must demonstrate the existence of a market, present good indicators of profitability, demonstrate a cash flow which enables the borrower to repay the loan, establish the availability of raw materials, and be a business for which the applicant has an aptitude.
Maximum loan size is US$2,500.00. Interest is charged at twenty (20) percent on the declining balance, which is around market rate. Some form of security must be offered on all loans. This includes the loan agreement and promissory note, third party guarantors, bill of sale on household items and equipment, salary deductions, crop lien, and equitable mortgages.