Why did we come up with this project, where did this come from?
During the months of June through August 2022, GECA conducted an investigation in the SUD department within the community of banked and unbanked individuals. We visited several businesses and talked to several business owners. The objective was to determine the factors and criteria hindering growth in this region, which has been affected by several catastrophic events classified as acts of God.
Among the results, more than half of the respondents, or three out of four, experienced a significant decrease in their income and witnessed a daily decline in their quality of life. Our findings also directed us to the conclusion that these businesses failed or are in the process of failing because of lack of direction and support, moreover, lack of financing. Our research was furthered by visiting several financial institutions to understand the obstacles that entrepreneurs are faced with when launching a business. We came to the realization that most MSME’s are non-formal and that their owner although influent members of community could not have access to capital because of failure to present a sound plan that comforts the institution of their capacity to manage and reimburse funds if borrowed. Despite of high interest rate and harsh requirements for lending these business owners have sound ideas and extensive experience in what they do in any other environment with the assistance of Businesses Advisors they would be able to thrive.
We realized as well that women, along with young individuals, are less likely to start their own businesses and have limited resources compared to men. They face significant barriers in accessing private investments. We also are well aware that individuals in more remote areas of the country do not have the same economic opportunities as those in the capital. In this case, our objective was to give them an equal chance to prosper in their respective fields.
We aim to support, coach, and assist entrepreneurs, primarily women, in both the informal and formal sectors across the 18 municipalities of the SUD department. Our main mission has been to guide and advise them, followed by providing closer support through granting loans. This gave birth to our foundation BRACING NEIGHBORS.