Screen_Shot_2014-04-08_at_7.42.39_PMThis morning the Belize Natural Energy Charitable Trust in conjunction with the La Inmaculada Credit Union launched its Empowerment Fund. These funds are now available to persons especially from the north and western parts of the country that are interested in boosting their micro or small businesses or have a business idea they wish to develop. Reporter Dalila Ical has the details.

Dalila Ical – Reporting

The contract was officially signed this morning between the Belize Natural Energy Charitable Trust and the La Inmaculada Credit Union in a brief ceremony. Chair of the Board of Trustees at the Belize Natural Energy Charitable Trust says that just as the title of the fund says, they hope to empower the productive sector of the country contributing to their economic growth.

Daniel Gutierez – Board Chair, BNE Charitable Trust

“We can empower our people, that we can make a difference in our communities and that we can make this oil money sustainable, we find that in many of those aspects La Imaculada Credit Union thinks like us and that they were the perfect partner, they have proven their work and I believe they had some EU funds some time ago and they have a number of different micro-enterprise initiatives that they can show to the world, we met with them some time ago and we said look we are interested in empowerment funding, we are interested in empowering our people and they said we can do it and we started exploring and the areas have been common and that is why we are here today.”

The BNE Charitable Trust is already collaborating with the LICU on a student loan program. This particular partnership sees the provision of seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars to benefit Belizeans across the country. Yolanda Gomez is the general Manager at the LICU.

Yolanda Gomez – General Manager, LICU

“We are looking at innovative initiatives and different businesses where by they can become more creative and expand their business or if they just have an idea they can visit us and we can sit with them and work with them.”


Daniel Gutierez – Board Chair, BNE Charitable Trust

“We expect that small business owners, people like Mrs. Enna said earlier people with idea, people who have this dream that they want to bring to reality whether they for the most part whether they already have their little business but they want to see that business grow they might just go up that little notch and it might be very difficult for them to get that funding from the bank and we believe this is where this funds comes it allows people to pursue to accomplish their dreams and it is not only giving them money but from you heard the people from La Inmaculada Credit Union said it also provides coaching along the way that is necessary for small entrepreneurs.”

Added to the funds, the LICU will also be providing continuous coaching to small entrepreneurs who apply and obtain the funds.

Dalila Ical – Reporter

“Who qualifies for a loan from this new fund?”

Yolanda Gomez – General Manager, LICU

“Anybody who has an idea that we believe that we can sit with and work out the details and ensure that they don’t fail, when our members owners, our citizens succeed that is a success story for us because when they make a loan and they fail they cannot repay so it is our obligation to help them, to hold their hands to walk with them, to mentor them so that they can repay their loan and everybody is happy.”

LICU has been doing capacity building services with the productive sector for years in areas such as marketing and packaging to meet international standards. 


The BNE Charitable Trust has also been providing similar opportunities in the western part of the country through the Belize Enterprise for Sustainable Technology initiative that has seen the disbursement of several micro loans to Belizeans.

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