Right now is an exciting time to be part of PHPG. We have started a partnership with The Pulsera Project, a non-profit organization based in Granada. The Pulsera Project’s main purpose is its fair-trade business which provides a market for young adult Nicaraguans who make bracelets, hammocks, and everything in between. They ship thousands of products to the United States, mostly sold in schools around the country. The project has had a huge amount of success as it has grown quickly over the past few years.
The Pulsera Project recently reached out to PHPG with an interest in giving micro-loans to its entrepreneurs, giving them ability to start their own businesses. Because the Pulsera Project does not specialize in micro-lending, PHPG will be facilitating the lending. This includes everything from conducting the loan interviews, setting the terms, and collecting payments. The Pulsera Project will provide all of the funding while we are able to provide services to their entrepreneurs . It’s a win-win for both organizations!
On Monday, we conducted the interviews. Juan Carlos, Kyle, Joe, Charlie, and I represented PHPG. With 10 prospective borrowers watching intently, Juan Carlos walked through our rules, processes, and terms. He picked out a few of the prospective loans and drilled down into more details, showing how much the biweekly or monthly payments might be. He went through the numbers to show how much product would need to sell in order to profit enough to pay the loans.
The types of businesses really varied. A young woman named Mercedes will use her loan to start selling cheese, using the money to buy the inventory of cheese, crème, and several utensils. Yelma will use his loan to build a small chicken coop where he’ll raise up to 100 chickens at a time. Silvio will start a business raising a few pigs and selling the meat. A young man named Carlos will use his loan to start a business repairing cell phones. Four gentlemen will use their respective loans to create their own small workshops where they will create hammocks to sell both in Granada and in the United States. All of these are exciting projects, and I can’t wait to see how they develop over time.
This has been a fun process. Interviewing these candidates directly, getting to know them, and learning about their businesses has been an incredible experience. All of these young adults seem motivated, knowledgeable, and I can’t wait to see what they can do. In general, people in this area are cash strapped. There is little room for expansion and even less room for taking on the investment of a new business. These loans at 0% interest will give them the opportunity to put their dreams into action. The resources that these loans provide could be life changers. Rather than working for someone else and earning $250 per month, a successful new business may provide the upwards of $600 per month and a new quality of life. They may be able to afford indoor plumbing, tile floors in their house, and the ability to easily access clean water. That’s the goal with our loans and is very well within reach for many of our entrepreneurs.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be dispersing the loans and the money will be put into action. All of us at PHPG and the Pulsera Project are excited to see development of the businesses with these loans!