THE Linden Enterprise Network (LEN) is providing support to outlying communities in Region 10 and is tapping into communal strengths so as to strengthen the economy of those communities, thus making them self-sustainable. In this regard, through its five-year strategic development plan, LEN has embarked on a regional campaign, where outlying communities in Region 10 are targeted and residents will be informed about the various support mechanisms available and how they can tap into same.
Carmelo Urdaneta Aqui
In this regard, they will be able to build their communities’ economy through independent or communal entrepreneurship. On Thursday, LEN’s officials visited Rockstone and reiterated to the toshao and residents that LEN is not here to serve Linden only, but the entire Region 10.
CEO of LEN, Tanniza Gasper, explained that LEN is on a mission to improve its presence in the various sector areas, and not just lending for regular business initiatives. She noted that prior to the launch of the strategic development plan in July 2019, these various sectors were underutilised. These sector areas include agriculture, manufacturing and the hospitality industry
ON THE AGENDA Agriculture is big on the agenda and LEN is pushing to have an impact in enabling Region 10 to make strides in food security. Gasper noted that 85 per cent of agriculture produce demanded in Region 10 come from other regions
Rockstone was targeted because of its interest in apiculture and aquaculture. These two forms of agriculture are being practised at Rockstone and LEN is willing to come on board to provide the needed assistance to enable the residents to receive tangible support, such as financing and technical training
Currently, Toshao of Rockstone, Flagon Carter, is rearing two bee hives and two other residents are also practising apiculture. With Rockstone being a primarily fishing community, several residents have embarked on various fishing initiatives and are seeking financing to expand their businesses. Several residents turned up at the outreach and were eager to learn about the policies of LEN and how they can tap into the loan fund
LEN provides loans for business initiatives from as low as $50,000 to $1M. In 2019, the company was allocated $200M to support businesses in Region 10. Gasper noted that the board of directors, headed by Chairman Orrin Gordon, would have considered the need to raise the ceiling for lending and will submit the proposal to the Ministry of Finance for approval. The proposal suggests that loans can be approved for as much as $7M and there will also be case-by-case evaluations for much larger businesses
Many youths in Rockstone who benefitted from funding through the Hinterland Empowerment Youth Service (HEYS) programme and have established small businesses and are seeking funding to expand, expressed interest in coming on board with LEN. The youths would have established fuel, tourism, poultry, vending and cosmetology businesses. Several residents also expressed the need for funding to expand their agricultural, logging and manufacturing businesses
The residents were advised on LEN’s basic requirements, the main one being the submission of working capital. The age requirement is between 18 to 65 years old. LEN’s interest rate is eight per cent across the board. Toshao Carter noted that many of the residents are not employed and therefore do not earn a guaranteed income
OTHER OPTIONS Gasper stressed that persons do not have to be employed to get their business plan approved as there are several options to tap into. LEN will also be monitoring the growth of the business and will assist the entrepreneur step by step, to ensure the business does not fail
Within the next two weeks, LEN will take its regional outreach to Moblissa and Muritaro. Gasper noted that for the strategic development plan to work, all of Region 10 must be capitalised. She revealed that only about five per cent of LEN’s clientele come from outside of Linden and these are from Coomacka and Kwakwani
Simultaneously, LEN will also be boosting its presence in the hospitality sector; more so as Linden Town Week 2019 (LTW) is approaching. Restaurateurs, guest houses, bread and breakfast, and hotel owners can tap into LEN’s resources to be able to better serve their clients