When some friends from Ohio came to ACE, they led a micro-business seminar in St. Mary. The little building was flooded with locals wanting to validate their ideas and learn how to start their own businesses. After the seminar, our loan program was set up for the most successful candidates: those who had finished the course and had the best business plans.
Promising Jamaican candidates are visited at their homes or places of business by the ACE Enterprise Manager and a volunteer team. Those approved for a micro-business loan are eligible to receive funds as soon as they are available. Loan monies are generated from payments that previous loan holders make to the program plus the interested earned, and from individuals and organizations that sponsor eligible Jamaican entrepreneurs.
Current loan recipients are visited in order to understand how they are using their funds and expanding their businesses. These visits also provide Americans with a first-hand experience of an average day in the life of a Jamaican businessperson. The goal here is to build trusting relationships and mentoring opportunities.
As each loan recipient repays his loan over the loan period, the money coming back into the micro-business program can be sent back out as loans to other Jamaican business owners.
Besides families growing and prospering from our micro-business programs, the local churches may benefit as businesses give to their church, and local economies grow as loan recipients have more money to spend in their communities. Additionally, the micro-businesses recruit young people who want to learn the trade to continue the business in the future. Many mid-level income entrepreneurs are able to hire workers from a lower income socio-economic background.