We look at the impact of GBTI’s Women of Worth loan program, which helps single parent women start and expand their businesses.
What Is the Women of Worth Loan Facility?
Provided by GBTI, the initiative caters for single parent women, helping them access funding for their small businesses. Business ventures currently supported by GBTI’s Women of Worth program include hairdressing, fabric design, floral arranging, dress making, childcare, craft and novelty making, and poultry rearing.
The program is a collaboration between GBTI and Guyana’s Ministry of Social Protection. Its main aim is to help single parent women who want to establish, upgrade, or expand a small business. This is accomplished by providing the funding women entrepreneurs need to grow their ventures and enhance their livelihoods.
To obtain financial funding to start a new business, applicants must: be between 18 and 60 years of age; earn less than $195 USD per month; be registered with the Guyana Ministry of Social Protection’s Single Parent Registry; and obtain an introductory letter from the Ministry of Social Protection or its representative agency.
Applicants must provide the following documentation: identification, e.g. a passport or affidavit of identity; a passport-sized ID photograph; proof of address; a character reference; their introductory letter; a business plan, including a cash flow projection covering the subsequent 12 months of the business; and a statement of outstanding loans.
The bank can provide up to 100 percent of the required amount for the applicant to start or grow her business. The money is provided on a microloan basis, with the bank requiring no equity or collateral. Women of Worth financing is available for loans up to $1,200 USD, with an interest rate of 6 percent per annum and a maximum repayment term of 24 months.
More than 3,000 Guyanese women have applied under the program. In addition, GBTI offers a grace period of 3-6 months. This enables recipients to get the business up and running before the first repayment is due.
Building on successes in Guyana, the Women of Worth initiative has been expanded across Essequibo.
Who Is GBTI?
For more than 180 years, the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry Limited has enjoyed a rich and successful history as one of Guyana’s most important financial service providers. Originally established in 1836 as the Colonial Bank, the bank continues today under the operation of Barclays PLC.
GBTI provides an extensive range of financial services to both corporate and individual consumers. These services include personal savings accounts, business financing, investment accounts, housing finance, and credit cards. It has 12 main branches spread across Guyana, with headquarters in Georgetown.
What Is GBTI’s Mission?
GBTI strives to support corporate and individual clients by providing innovative, efficient service to both depositors and lenders. GBTI utilizes state-of-the-art technology to train and support its committed team of employees, helping them identify solutions to identify and meet individual client needs.
The organization’s corporate objectives include the following. First, to create an efficient, approachable banking environment, effectively structuring business operations to provide the highest level of service. Second, to leverage modern technology to enhance customer experience. Third, to maintain the bank’s reputation as a market leader in terms of innovation and product diversification. Fourth, to provide ongoing training and support for bank employees at all levels, enabling them to provide optimum quality of service.
How Else Does GBTI Fulfill Its Social Responsibility?
GBTI has a long history of supporting worthy causes, both at home and abroad.
In January 2019, GBTI staff fundraisers accumulated almost $2,000 USD in donations. These funds were distributed between the Periwinkle Club cancer organization and the Guyana Cancer Foundation. This represented the bank’s biggest contribution to date to cancer treatment and support charities.
The bank strives to give back to local communities though its Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives. Throughout 2019, GBTI supported various non-governmental organizations in humanitarian efforts. Recipients included: Food for the Poor, Artists in Direct Support, Guyana Red Cross Society, Guyana Relief Council, Help and Shelter, Dharma Shala Benevolent Home, Guyana Society for the Blind, Guyana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Uncle Eddie’s Home, and the Salvation Army.
As a GBTIs spokesman explains, the bank recognizes that the work of these organizations can sometimes go unrecognized. In the spirit of goodwill and corporate citizenship, GBTI lends its support, furthering the cause of organizations that help people in need.
In other philanthropic endeavors, over Christmas 2018, GBTI gifted more than 100 gifts to children of Hararuni through the Guyana Red Cross. Observing World Blood Donor Day on Wednesday June 13, 2018, GBTI staff, customers, and friends gathered at the bank’s Water Street Branch to donate blood. This was the company’s sixth annual blood donor drive. The annual event has provided an average 30 units of blood a year, with many of GBTI’s staff members donating blood regularly.
Removing Financial Obstacles for Women Is Good for Everyone
Through initiatives like Women of Worth, GBTI is making a tangible impact in Guyana today. By removing financial obstacles, GBTI helps women realize their true potential. By building businesses, women use their acumen to grow local communities, build wealth, and ultimately making Guyana better as a whole.