Qredits, a social enterprise supporting entrepreneurs, says it is forced to discontinue its soft loan programme for (starting) entrepreneurs in St. Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius.
Qredits received a budget for 90 loans from Ministry of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations BZK as part of the Early Recovery projects post-Hurricane Irma. The aim was to receive additional budget through the World Bank for 300 more loans.
Despite the enormous success of the project and continuous efforts by Qredits, additional budget has not been released, leaving Qredits no other option but to immediately discontinue the programme, the nonprofit microfinance provider said in a press statement. The aim of the special soft loan was to give starting entrepreneurs the opportunity to set up their own businesses and to support existing entrepreneurs with needed investments for their companies.
Soft loans are small business loans up to US $25,000 with a fixed interest rate of two per cent during the six-year loan term. During the first year, borrowers only need to pay interest.
There was enormous interest in this financing option from the start. Qredits received more than 200 loan applications during the past five months. More than 90 of these have been approved and disbursed, totalling $2 million. Seventy applications are still pending.
Qredits said it intends to make every effort to continue its support to entrepreneurs through assistance with writing business plans and by offering suitable financing. However, standard loan conditions are in effect as of today, Tuesday. They can be found on the website www.qredits.com
Qredits will continue its efforts to be able to offer special conditions to the entrepreneurs on the three islands to ensure that entrepreneurship on these islands will be able to recover from the consequences of Hurricane Irma.
“It is such a shame this project cannot be continued,” stated Qredits Chief Executive Officer Elwin Groenevelt. “The St. Maarten economy is still very fragile after the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma and this calls for special support for small and starting entrepreneurs on these islands. The Netherlands has funds earmarked for this purpose and we hope this will be made available very soon.”
Qredits introduced special loan conditions for small entrepreneurs on the three islands in December 2017. “Unfortunately, it now finds itself in a position where this soft-loan programme can no longer be continued,” Qredits said.
The Daily Herald.