The South Pacific Business Development Microfinance’s (SPBD) 12th Annual Businesswoman Awards ceremony was held at Marist Hall, Mulivai, yesterday.
The women of Puipa’a dominated the glittering ceremony (see story page 4)attended bymore than 1,200 women.
The Minister of Finance, Faumuina Tiatia Liuga, congratulated the winners.
Also in attendance were senior government officials, bankers and other important stakeholders.
They cheered and encouraged the women who have come forward with the assistance of SPBD to participate in the economic progress of the country through their entrepreneurial work, commitment towards empowering themselves and creating a better life for their family.
The President and Founder of SPBD Samoa, Greg Casagrande was a proud man.
“For us at the South Pacific Business Development Microfinance, every woman, who resolves to make a living for herself by channelling her skills into an entrepreneurial venture and provides a better lifestyle for her family, is a hero,” he says.
“It is their unbending spirit which inspires our employees to do their very best.
“While the Annual Businesswoman Awards recognize the star performers and high achievers, we believe it is our privilege to be associated with each one of our wonderful customers and we are grateful for the faith they have invested in our organization.”
The SPBD mission is centered on the importance of offering an opportunity and ongoing motivation to improve the quality of life of individuals living in poverty, by providing them access to financial services.
Over the years, since its conception in year 2000, SPBD, besides generating a positive social footprint, has disbursed over $55 million worth of microfinance loans.
It has empowered over 30,000 women to build a better life for themselves and their families.
After having establishing itself in Samoa, SPBD has expanded its footprint to Fiji and Tonga, has recently begun operations in Solomon Islands.
In Fiji, South Pacific Business Development Microfinance even pioneered a technological innovation for mobile money services, in partnership with Vodafone.
In October 2012, SPBD launched its Financial Literacy Programme for underprivileged women in Samoa.
The goal of this financial literacy drive is to assist unemployed women, across Samoa, to realize their dreams and ambitions of securing a better future for their children and family; besides enhancing their savings/assets, making their businesses more successful and to improve their understanding and awareness of their finances and investments.
In keeping with its mission of helping the underprivileged through its innovative product and services, SPBD has piloted its Seasonal Workers Loan Programme for workers from Samoa who travel to New Zealand or Australia for work; both these countries are witnessing consistent growth in demand for seasonal workers.
Seasonal Worker Loan can help workers to cover their travel and other going expenses-including visa fee, airfare and basic necessities like food and transportation.
While employed as a seasonal employee, the workers will not only learn a new trade/skill and earn a steady income, but also learn on how to manage their income and expenses and start a savings account.
Ajay Verma, General Manager, SPBD Samoa says SPBD is excited about the future.
“Looking beyond, we expect to be able to offer more and more socially responsible services like Financial Literacy Programmes, Seasonal Employee Loans and Loan Programmes for monitoring use of renewable sources of energy. i.e. Solar Energy,” says Verma.
“For at SPBD, we have never measured our success in figures and impact alone, but always considered and evaluated our ability to make a positive difference in the lives of people.
“Our impact assessment study reveals that members, who have been exposed to the SPBD microfinance programme for a year, tend to have higher annual incomes and better savings. They also seemed to have acquired additional household assets.
“More heartening is that an overwhelmingly 90 per cent of these members used the profits to improve their homes and over 70 per cent utilized profits to pay for the education of their children.”
The winners were as follows.
SPBD business women of the year awards
Center Chief finalists – Upolu
Center chief finalists – Savai’i
Center Secretary Finalists – Upolu
Center secretary finalists – Savai’i
Best center – Upolu
Best center – Savai’i
Best businesswoman- Upolu
Best business woman - Savai’i
Best savers –Upolu/Savai’i
Overall winner best center Savai’i -Sato’alepai
Overall winner best center - Upolu -Puipa’a
Overall winner busines woman Savai’i – Alisa Seve
Overall winner business woman upolu – Vine Vaiola
Overall winner - businesswoman -Vine Vaiola
Overall winner - best/top saver – Paugata Tuatagaloa
Overall winner – Best centre – Puipa’a