After months of meetings, planning, writing, and waiting we at Plenty Belize have been notified that the European Union has accepted two of our three grant applications for economic development work. Everyone is very excited about this wonderful news. On Tuesday, March 4th Mark, Tasha, Ermain and Mike traveled to San Ignacio Town for the official signing ceremony. These grants will provide Plenty Belize and our partners with a great opportunity to help more people throughout the Toledo District and Belize.
The first grant, the Toledo Grant, focuses on helping to develop businesses throughout the district. The grant has been awarded to Plenty Belize, the Toledo Teachers Credit Union(TTCU), and Sustainable Harvest International(SHI). All organizations will be receiving funds to help create new projects, support existing ones, and to award large group grants to qualified recipients. Established business groups will be applying for a one time grant of approximately $22,500 BZD to help start or expand their business. Over the next two years, ten groups will be receiving grants. This is a wonderful opportunity for the residents of Toledo. Working with our partners and the project director (yet to be hired) Plenty will help to choose the recipients of these grants. Plenty will also be receiving funds to establish a Business Resource Center, which is to be housed at the Plenty office in Punta Gorda Town. We plan for the Resource Center to provide services to entrepreneurs and residents throughout Toledo by assisting them with business planning, trainings, guidance, advice and support.
The second grant that Plenty Belize and Belize Enterprise for Sustainable Technologies(BEST) was awarded is Microgrants for the Rural Poor; this program will provide grants to Belizean residents across the rural areas of Belize, Cayo and the Toledo Districts. Plenty Belize will be working solely in the Toledo District by providing microgrants to qualified persons interested in starting their own small business, while BEST will be working in the Belize and Cayo Districts. Both Plenty and BEST worked with microgrants this past year under the BRDP project, we feel that our previous experience and knowledge with microgrants will ensure a high rate of success for this upcoming project. Together with BEST we aim to disburses 200 grants within the 3 districts. Due to the higher costs associated with working in Toledo we hope to provide 60 grants, while BEST aims to selected 70 recipients for each of the two districts they will be working with.
These grants will provide a exciting opportunity for everyone involved to really help make a difference in the lives of many Belizeans! Plenty Belize would like to extend a sincere thanks to the European Union for this wonderful opportunity!