During Enlace Project's expansion in the past couple years, the microloan program became one of the organization's most important and unique tools in empowering the community of El Sauce. By providing locals with small sums of money with exceptionally low interest rates, the program has seen both high level of interest and success. The paid back loans are then used for the next round of microloans.
The latest round of loans consists of six first-time applicants who have signed up with their own business ideas. The loans will be distributed by mid-November, after the recipients participate in a 3-week course and create a business plan for how they will use the money. The course, which began Monday October 21, focuses on financial education, accounting, and creating and revising the business plan.
Enrique Corrales, the director of the program, tries to keep ideas for the course fresh and innovative. This round, he is hoping to promote the opening of savings accounts for businesses so that they can better manage their funds. Conrad Wright, Peace Corps. business development volunteer for El Sauce, has also joined Enrique to consult any and all entrepreneurs who come to him with questions or seeking advice.
The participants, as well, have innovative ideas for their businesses, including a pastry shop, a silver and jewelry shop, and a natural medicine business.
MICROLOAN FAQS AND STATISTICS
What is a microloan?
Microloans are small amounts of money presented in the form of a loan to small entrepreneurs and business men and women. The loans have low interests rates that are paid back over a set period of time.
Who can receive a microloan?
Business owners or those with an idea for a business in El Sauce can apply for these loans with a specific use in mind, often to improve the resources available to their business. Some applicants have previously received a loan, and are eligible for a second if they paid the first one back on time.
How much can one person receive?
First loan: up to $200
Second loan: up to $300
Third loan: up to $500
How many loans has Enlace Project distributed?
Since 2012, Enlace Project has distributed 63 loans to a range of businesses including restaurants, clothing stores, transportation services, bookstores, and more.
How are microloan recipients chosen?
The microloan program has spread by word of mouth to many business owners. They visit Enlace Project’s office to inquire about the program. Since Enlace does not have the funds available to run the program year-round, we call those interested when there are funds for a round of loans.
Rigoberto Ruiz, a former recipient of a loan. Read about other participants here.
What are the requirements to receive a loan?
In order to participate, applicants must be able to read and write, and be of 18 years of age or older. Prior to receiving the loan, all participants must attend a series of classes on good financial practices.
What is the focus of the financial class?
Enlace Project is proud to offer classes to the participating small businesses owners to help the loans to be used the best they can be. These classes include how to create a business plan, keep track of finances, and book-keeping skills.
How does Enlace Project follow up with recipients?
After loans are distributed, Enlace Project regularly makes visits to the recipient’s businesses to see how their businesses are and assist them with their bookkeeping. Those participants who wish to apply for a second or third loan are able to do so as long as they have necessity, interest in business growth, and a plan for using the loan.
Number of microloan beneficiaries: 43
Number of clients having received a second or third loan: 18
Amount of money given total: $14,889
Number of rounds of loans: 8
Percent that pay back: 95%
Money donated to microloan program: $4,963+
Percent female recipients: 66%