S.S.A.B. and S.P.B.D. partner to assist women

South Pacific Business Development (S.P.B.D.) has its first commercial partnership in Samoa Stationery and Books (S.S.A.B.), financing white ware for their clients of over three years.

No longer just a micro-finance lender to rural women running small business, S.P.B.D. now works with S.S.A.B. to get these women essential goods for their home.

So far, six eligible clients meet the credit criteria to apply for white ware financing, and eventually more will follow, said  S.P.B.D. General Manager, Luapene Lefau.

S.S.A.B. Chief Executive Officer Tofilau Fiti Leung Wai said she aligns her heart with S.P.B.D.’s objective of helping women to support themselves sustainably.

“I am delighted that this golden opportunity has been made available for women that are in need of help financially to set up their businesses and also to improve their standards of living.

“My advice as a businesswoman to all the women on this scheme is firstly to honour God in all that they do, and work hard, as success comes from a lot of hard work.”

Eligible S.P.B.D. clients (women with the company three years or more) can apply to purchase white ware, and take it home immediately with S.P.B.D.  making payments to S.S.A.B.and taking smaller repayments from the clients.

Ms Lefau said most women who come to S.P.B.D. for a small, unsecured loan for their business are formally uneducated, but are determined to support themselves and their families.

They invest time and energy into getting loans to build their business, and then reinvest any and all profits back into that business or to pay off their loans, she said, and often cannot save up for big purchases.

“Our clients who get a loan, they spend it on their business because that’s their main purpose for their loan. And then there is no money put aside for other stuff.

“It will take a while for our micro-entrepreneurs to save for a white good item, so that’s why our S.P.B.D. micro-entrepreneurs will benefit from this partnership.”

The businesses these women are running range from plantations and vegetable stalls, to small retail and grocery stores, and one woman is a mechanic, growing her own shop.

S.P.B.D. has been running in Samoa since 2000. Ms Lefau said it is a massively needed organisation where so much of the population is ineligible for bank loans.

“The requirements of those traditional banks are that you should work full time, and have a regular source of income.

“Those requirements really push people away,” said Ms Lefau.

“We are trying to make it easier for our small-to-medium enterprise clients.”

As well as affordable loans, S.P.B.D. clients save 5 per cent of their loan in a compulsory savings account as they make repayments, to help them continue investing in their business.

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