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Access Financial Services - Finalist for Citi Micro-entrepreneurship Awards

Release Date: 
Friday, August 24, 2012

For immediate release
Citigroup Inc. (NYSE symbol: C)
August 24, 2012

Finalists Announced for the Citi Micro-entrepreneurship Awards for the Caribbean

Kingston, Jamaica, August 24, 2012 - Citi Foundation, the Caribbean Microfinance Alliance, and the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) are pleased to announce the finalists for the 1st annual Citi Micro-entrepreneurship Awards for the Caribbean. The Awards recognize a microfinance institution and a micro-entrepreneur that have each demonstrated remarkable success in the English-speaking Caribbean. Five finalists have been chosen for each award and a jury of six experts on microfinance and micro-entrepreneurship in the region will be selecting the winners by the end of August.

The winner of the Excellence in Microfinance Award will receive a cash prize of US$10,000 and the winner of the Excellence in Micro-entrepreneurship Award will receive a cash prize of US$3,000. Both winners will also receive a short video on their business or institution, an award certificate and a trip to the award ceremony at the Caribbean Microfinance Forum IV in Bridgetown, Barbados on September 30, 2012.

The 5 finalists for the Excellence in Microfinance Award are:

  • Access Financial Services (Jamaica)
  • Churches Cooperative Credit Union (Jamaica)
  • First Regional Cooperative Credit Union (Jamaica)
  • Institute of Private Enterprise Development (Guyana)
  • Seva MFI (Suriname)

“The microfinance institution finalists demonstrate professionalism, innovation and above all, dedication to their clients, as they achieve success in Caribbean marketplace. By helping their clients grow their businesses through loans, training and other services, these institutions are fostering economic development in their communities,” said Tomas Miller, MIF Access to Finance Unit Chief and Awards Jury Member.

The 5 finalists for the Excellence in Micro-entrepreneurship Award are:

  • Javier Basto, Basto & Sons Plantain Chips (La Inmaculada Credit Union, Belize)
  • Romaldo Cal, Cal’s Bakery (La Inmaculada Credit Union, Belize)
  • Somaroe Khemradj, Rice Farmer (Seva MFI, Suriname)
  • Beverley Paton, Beverley Grocery (Institute of Private Enterprise Development, Guyana)
  • Norine Roberts, S & N Enterprise (Grenville Cooperative Credit Union, Grenada)

“All of the finalists for the micro-entrepreneur award started off with just an idea and a small amount of capital to start their business. They are engaged in diverse activities such as baking, farming and retailing, and in just the past three years, most of them have more than doubled their annual sales. Through remarkable drive, ingenuity and hard work, these entrepreneurs have overcome challenges, expanded their business, hired new employees and helped to improve their respective communities,” said Winsome Leslie, MIF Senior Specialist and Team Leader for the Caribbean Microfinance Capacity Building (CARIB-CAP) I and II programs.

Dennis Evans, Citi Cluster Head for the Caribbean said, “This initiative is part of Citi's commitment to the economic empowerment and financial inclusion of the communities where we are present.  Citi is proud to be working with the IDB MIF in supporting the Caribbean Microfinance Alliance, and to be launching the Citi Micro-entrepreneurship Awards (CMA) in the English-speaking Caribbean for the first time.  I look forward to meeting and congratulating the winners in person at the awards ceremony”.

The Citi Micro-entrepreneurship Awards will be presented at the Caribbean Microfinance Forum IV in Bridgetown, Barbados on September 30, 2012. The Forum is an important knowledge-sharing venue for microfinance institutions in the Caribbean and discussions this year will cover issues such as the state of microfinance in the Region, responsible microfinance (i.e. client protection, etc.) and the Smart Campaign, the value of a Caribbean microfinance network as a mechanism for knowledge-sharing, and development of the microfinance industry. Individuals interested in attending can contact Villet Bennet at [email protected]. The Caribbean Microfinance Forum is being held in conjunction with the Inter-American Forum on Microenterprise (FOROMIC) hosted by MIF/IDB on Oct. 1-3, 2012, in Barbados.

The Citi Micro-entrepreneurship Awards for the Caribbean are financed by the Citi Foundation and administered by the Caribbean Microfinance Alliance (CMFA) and the MIF. The awards program has 3 goals: 1) to raise awareness about microfinance; 2) to build awareness about the important role microentrepreneurs play in their local economies; and 3) to develop the next generation of microfinance networks.


About Citi Foundation

The Citi Foundation is committed to the economic empowerment and financial inclusion of individuals and families, particularly those in need, in the communities where we work so that they can improve their standard of living. Globally, the Citi Foundation targets its strategic giving to priority focus areas: Microfinance, Enterprise Development, Youth Education and Livelihoods, and Financial Capability and Asset Building. The Citi Foundation works with its partners in Microfinance and Enterprise Development to support environmental programs and innovations. Additional information can be found at www.citifoundation.com.

The Citi Micro-entrepreneurship Awards which are funded by Citi Foundation began in one country in 2001 and have since expanded to over 30 countries and regions today.

About the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF)

The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank Group, was established in 1993, and is funded by 39 donor countries.  MIF supports private sector-led development benefitting the poor and low-income populations—households, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, and small farmers. It aims to give them the tools to boost their incomes by funding projects in three broad access areas: access to markets and the skills to compete in those markets, access to finance, and access to basic services. MIF is the largest technical assistance provider in Latin America and the Caribbean, leveraging US$100 million in project funds each year. (www.iadb.org/mif)

About the Caribbean Microfinance Alliance (CMFA)
The Caribbean Microfinance Alliance (CMFA) was established in 2011 under the auspices of the Caribbean Microfinance Capacity-building (CARIB-CAP) program and co-financed by the MIF, the European Commission and the Caribbean Development Bank. The CMFA is a network of microfinance practitioners in the Caribbean and it is domiciled in Kingston, Jamaica. (www.caribbeanmicrofinancealliance.com)

Press Contact – Ruth Malcolm, Citibank Jamaica (876) 936-3264