Residents of the British Virgin Islands can now apply for loans with no interest, no down payment, or collateral from the Unite BVI Foundation — an entrepreneurial foundation funded by the Virgin Group and the family of British billionaire, Sir Richard Branson.
Persons will be able to get loans of up to $5,000 under the organisation’s ‘Kickstart Loan’ category and up to $25,000 under their ‘Impact Loans’ programme.
Commenting on the initiative via a media release on Wednesday, September 9, Manager of the Unite BVI Foundation Kim Takeuchi said the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has escalated the need to inspire and empower local entrepreneurship in the face of the increased economic challenges being experienced locally.
“Small island nations such as the BVI must find a way to create new jobs in emerging markets so as to diversify their economies, making them less reliant on vulnerable industries,” she stated.
The media release said the deadline to apply is October 19.
Loan is to expand existing businesses
The release said the loan is to expand existing businesses or to start a business that would have a positive impact on the environment or on the community.
It continued: “The KickStart BVI loan programme was created to ease the burden of access to financial and business training and development resources, aiming to empower and support local entrepreneurs.”
Notably, persons must complete an initial assessment online. The deadline for that assessment is September 23 and those meeting the requirements would then be required to submit a business plan and a financial questionnaire.
The release said funding is restricted to support social impact enterprises that directly address either an environmental or societal challenge facing the BVI with a business-based, sustainable solution.
Another loan available
In the meantime, the foundation its other Impact Loan Programme is intended to give social entrepreneurs a step-up through “financial empowerment and … high-level capacity-building and mentorship support”.
Takeuchi said this loan aims to catalyze social enterprises that will have a lasting positive impact in the BVI by directly addressing challenges facing local communities and/or the environment with sustainable, business-based solutions.
Persons who receive this loan type will have three to five years to repay.
To qualify, applicants must be 18 years or older, hold a valid BVI trade license, have limited access to financing, and demonstrate a viable business plan complete with financial planning, etcetera.
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