Loan scheme supports 1,000-plus businesses

A loan scheme provided by the Samoa Business Enterprise Centre (S.B.E.C.) has already supported 1,000 small-to-medium size businesses get off the ground.

But the service provided by the Centre's "Business Loan Guarantee Portfolio" – which provides credit financing on favourable terms to businesses across all sectors of the Samoan economy – promises to go one step further. 

It will enable access to credit provided by commercial banks, including Samoa Commercial Bank and the Development Bank of Samoa.

Under the scheme, which is designed to encourage entrepreneurs and qualifying businesses, those who meet their conditions can have the S.B.E.C. sign on as a guarantor for up to 80 per cent of seed loans above $10,000. 

In an effort to continue their work, the S.B.E.C. recently signed an agreement with the Samoa Commercial Bank to continue to support business loans under a new "business guarantee scheme".

The initiative reflects the continued support of the Managing Director of Samoa Commercial Bank for local businesses, Lemalu Ray Ah Liki, according to the S.B.E.C. Chief Executive Officer, Vaitulia Alatina Ioelu.

Vaitulia said a crucial part of this exercise is to strengthen the ongoing partnership with the financial institutions under its "business loan guarantee scheme". 

"The change is a result of restructuring at the organisation, to realign its services to the demand of the business community, the lending landscape and the development goals of Samoa in its development strategy," he said.

"This will see an expansion in its business support services to a wider range of businesses to include more established, small and medium sized enterprises with good growth potential."

S.B.E.C. is currently undergoing a rebranding exercise to align its services to the Samoa Development Strategy: the Government's overarching economic strategy document dedicated to improving the quality of life and diversifying the economy. 

One of the key changes to the organisation includes changing its name, from the S.B.E.C. to Samoa Business Hub.

Vaitulia added that the agreement with the other banks is under review and will soon be completed and signed.

The Samoa Business Hub is a quasi-government organisation mandated by the Government of Samoa and assisted by both Samoa and New Zealand to support the development of micro start-ups and small and medium enterprises  in Samoa.

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