Leutu tells that when she heard about the SPBD loans, she thought of starting a business so she can join the SPBD Centre at Vailoa Tai. Leutu’s family have a store and it was run by the auntie. Towards the end of the year, the auntie decided to move to New Zealand and therefore Leutu and the husband looked after the shop. When she got the shop, she joined the Vailoa Tai Centre.
Leutu’s first loan was 750 tala (US$ 300), and she used it to buy more stock for her small shop. The amount was not enough for any further improvements. On her 2nd loan of 1,250 tala (US$ 500), she thought of extending the building, and she did so with the help of her husband who is a good carpenter. The business went well. With the extra profit she had in her purse, she thought of saving it.
After the second loan, Leutu was entitled to a 2,250 tala (US$ 900) loan, and thought of another business. She tried the pancakes but it didn’t work, so she saved the rest of the loan. She said that one day while she was in the shop, a car stopped by her shop and asked if there’s any nearby Laundromat in the area. That is when she got the idea of extending the building for the Laundromat. So she hurriedly paid up her loan, and ready for the next loan.
On Leutu’s 3rd loan that she saved, plus this 4th loan, she was able to buy 2 washing machines. With the profit from the shop plus her savings, she was able to buy two Dryers. “Two washing machines and two dryers are good enough to start up with,” she said.
South Pacific Business Development (SPBD) improves conditions for families living in poverty by providing accessible credit, training, and guidance to help them start, grow and maintain micro-businesses, build assets, finance home improvements, and afford to educate their children. 99% of SPBD’s loans go to women, who can borrow in groups to guarantee one another rather than put up collateral.