SPBD, a microfinance network headquartered in Newark, surpassed $ 200 million this month in “microloans” to tens of thousands of women entrepreneurs in the South Pacific.
New Jersey native and SPBD Founder / President Greg Casagrande said: “Since its founding in 2000, SPBD has been on the path to providing meaningful economic opportunities for low-income women microentrepreneurs. We invest in women, make their dreams come true and make an impact. ”
Loreta Umu is one such microentrepreneur. Umu is a retail store operator who also cooks and sells barbecues in front of her store in Savaii, Samoa. Umu was the recipient of a loan for which the SPBD exceeded the $ 200 million mark. The SPBD has disbursed over 225,000 loans to approximately 85,000 women microentrepreneurs.
Umu joined SPBS in 2012 and over the years her success has allowed her to access larger SPBS funding for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and today she received her third SME loan. With the support of SPBD, Umu “significantly improved” her living and living conditions.
She recounts her journey: “I started by selling fresh vegetables in front of our house, then selling homemade ice cream and barbecues, and then expanded my business to include my own small shop. Without SPBD, I would not have achieved much, because it is very difficult to get a loan from a bank. I firmly believe that SPBD has taken us to where we are now. Previously, my family and I lived in inadequate conditions, and I used a loan to improve the living space. A lot has become possible with SPBD. The benefits were not only in finances, but also in things like savings, financial literacy, leadership and independence. “
SPBD operates in five countries – Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu – and has 169 employees. SPBD currently has 17 offices and offers 16 products and services, including loans, savings, death benefits, financial education and business skills training for its members.
Casagrande also notes: “While it took us 10 years to repay the first $ 10 million, today SPBD disburses $ 10 million in loans in less than five months, so our influence is also skyrocketing. I’m so glad we just exceeded our loans by $ 200 million. “
SPAP plans to expand and offer its microfinance products and services to deserving women in the South Pacific to support them in improving living standards for themselves and their families.