What are Kickstart BVI loans?
KickStart BVI is Unite BVI’s flagship small business loan programme created to ease the burden of access to financial and business resources.
These loans differ from loans given out by traditional financial institutions by eliminating the requirements of down-payments or collateral as security, nor do we conduct any formal credit checks and the loans are zero interest.
Unite BVI recognises the unique circumstances and challenges entrepreneurs face in obtaining financing and we want to make it easier for local entrepreneurs who would struggle to attain a loan from a traditional institution but who may have a great business idea worthy of being given the opportunity to explore.
In essence, we rely on the integrity of the selected Entrepreneurs to repay their loans. The pool of funding for future entrepreneurs is limited and relies on loan repayments to fund the next round of the programme. Hence, loan awardees commit to repaying their loans so that they can feel proud of doing their part to make sure the Kickstart Loan Programme continues to be able to support other local entrepreneurs in the future.
Specific Information on THE KICKSTART BVI 2020 LOAN PROGRAMME
All loans are:
- interest free
- require no down-payment or collateral
- 2-5 year repayment term
- protected for BVI-based businesses (applicant must have a local valid trade license)
- protected for local entrepreneurs who have limited access to financing by any other means.
- Can be for start-up businesses or can be used to expand/scale an existing business
- Are restricted to businesses that are:
- ethically operated
- have a "Force for Good Approach” * to how they conduct business.
- Max loan amount is usually 5K however if the loan is for a business that will catalyze a social enterprise that directly addresses either an environmental or societal challenge facing the BVI with a business-based, sustainable solution then the max loan amount can be as high as 25K.
The term “FORCE FOR GOOD APPROACH” keeps being used, what does this actually mean?
Unite BVI’s defines businesses which have a ‘Force for Good Approach’ as those that:
- Actively address challenges being faced by the community or in the natural environment with sustainable business-based solutions
- Incentivise their employees to ‘give back’ to their communities/the environment
- provide ‘in-kind’ services to local charities, community groups and ‘good causes’
- Have strong ‘Social Corporate Responsibility’ strategies
- Operate with ethical practices that take the welfare of both people and planet into consideration.
What are the CORE GOALS OF THE 2020 PROGRAMME?
- Stimulate the local economy through job creation in emerging markets
- Inspire innovation within the entrepreneurial space
- Help existing entrepreneurs to re-invent their businesses within the post Covid-19 and Hurricane Irma context
- Strengthen economic resilience through diversification of the economy
- Increase access to financing for small businesses
- Strengthen network of local & international mentors
- Foster a peer-to-peer entrepreneurship support community
- Increase local business success
- Increase revenues for local businesses
- Increase local & international exposure of BVI entrepreneurs
- Empower ‘social impact entrepreneurs’ to find business-based solutions to challenges facing local communities and the environment .
- Continued access for entrepreneurs to free capacity-building-training
- Increase number of businesses using their “Business as a Force for Good”
Our KickStart BVI loan programme existed before the catastrophic storms of 2017 and before the Covid-19 pandemic. We’ve always believed in supporting local entrepreneurs as a means of having a positive impact on the BVI. In crisis there is always opportunity and now, more than ever, at a time of economic vulnerability we need to diversify our economy and encourage entrepreneurship and innovation. We are excited to see what business proposals come forward this year as we believe that challenge can be the mother of innovation.
KICKSTART BVI 2020 LOAN APPLICATION PROCESS
There are two stages to our application process:
1. Initial Assessment - Just click on the link below to access the online google form. By filling this in you will provide us with enough information to screen you for eligibility. (Eligibility criteria listed clearly below). If you are determined eligible for a KickStart BVI Loan then you will be invited to submit a full application.
2. Full Application - The full application includes the submission of a Business Plan and the completion of a Financial Questionnaire. Templates and guides will be provided for you.
ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA (FOR LOANS OF 5K OR LESS):
- Be over 18 years
- Hold a valid BVI trade licence (We will accept applications from individuals who are in the process of applying for a trade license however they must understand that even if they are approved for a loan through the Kickstart Loan Programme disbursement of the loan is contingent on them having a valid trade license to operate in the BVI)
- Have limited access to financing (Unable to attain a loan from a bank by using their assets as collateral)
- Have operated a business or worked in a senior position operating a business for over a year
- The business must operate with ethical practices that take the welfare of both people and planet into careful consideration
- Demonstrate a viable business plan complete with financial planning/forecasting
- Demonstrate a plan for how they will use/currently use their business “as a force for good*”.
- Contribute positively to the BVI economy post Hurricane Irma and Covid-19 (in-line with Government: Stronger, Smarter, Greener, Better)
ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA (FOR LOANS THAT ARE 25K OR LESS)
- In addition to all of the above criteria must also:
- Demonstrate that their business will DIRECTLY be solving a challenge facing the environment and/or communities with a business-based solution and that a percentage of the business’s profits will be re-investing into scaling the social impact enterprise. The resulting positive lasting impact should be on either preserving or rehabilitating the natural environment of the BVI and/or enriching the lives of those living within the communities of the BVI by addressing a social welfare or public health need.
- Demonstrate strong business viability in the current business climate (Submit a business plan complete with financial planning/forecasting that demonstrates scalability of the social impact enterprise)
The loan applications will be scored by a body of independent judges and the top 12-15 applicants will be granted loans. This Application Review Committee is made-up of independent judges who are members of the BVI community that share our vision and strive to achieve the objectives outlined for this programme. They are a melting pot of talent and personalities - with the strong common denominator of being successful entrepreneurs and business owners.
BUSINESS APPLICATIONS THAT WILL BE SCORED MOST FAVOURABLY ARE:
- Innovative (strengthen economic resilience by diversifying the marketplace)
- Create & secure the most domestic jobs
- Demonstrate viability (& ideally scalability)
- Demonstrate a strong ‘Business as a Force for Good Approach
- Businesses that are specifically beneficial to BVI’s ongoing recovery post Hurricane Irma and post Covid 19 pandemic.
TARGET ENTREPRENEUR PROFILE:
- Passionate, driven, self-motivated, willing to fail, resilient, act with integrity, problem-solver, sense of purpose, coachable
- Local to the BVI (ideally)
- Passionate about positively impacting their local communities and the environment
TERMS OF LOAN:
- No interest
- No down-payment
- No collateral required
- 2-5 year repayment term
- 5K max loan amount (for small business loans that do not have a direct benefit to the community or environment)
- 25K max loan (for businesses that will have a direct benefit to the community or environment)
- 3-6 month “grace period”
Support Services for Applicants
To assist entrepreneurs in the final application stage, we provide template business plans and financial questionnaires, so entrepreneurs don’t need to start from scratch. We also partner entrepreneurs with trusted business advisors to guide them through the final stage, and offer one-to-one support & coaching.
Support Services for Successful Applicants/Loan Awardees
- Access to capital
- Access to business professional help
- Access to strategic/finance coaches/mentors
- Invited to join group of existing entrepreneurs
- Ambassador opportunities
- Networking opportunities
Sept 9th: Recruitment/Marketing & Initial Assessment Open
Sept 23rd: Deadline for submission of Initial Assessment
Sept 28th: Full Applications invitations sent out to eligible applicants
Oct 19th: Deadline for submission of full applications
Nov 2nd: Loan Awardees are announced
Entrepreneurship is a great leveller, the wonderful thing is that money is not the sole currency when it comes to starting a business; drive, determination, passion and hard work are all free and more valuable than a pot of cash.
- Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin