Development Bank fully committed to funding rural-based small and medium sized projects

Maxime Isaiah doing what he does best: His client is Kenja Morton of the Development Bank

St. Kitts (January 26, 2011) — When the European Investment Bank extended a new line of credit to the tune of US$ 8 million to the Development Bank of Saint and Nevis, last December, its official observed that the local bank not only commands a leading position and expertise in small and medium sized enterprises financing, but also had the ability to offer technical assistance to its clients.

“Traditionally the Development Bank has always supported small and medium sized enterprises, and we felt honoured when the European Investment Bank recognised that fact,” said the bank’s General Manager, Mr Lenworth Harris. “What makes our efforts even more appealing is the fact that we not only support the urban-based projects, but also rural-based projects.”

A support officer with the Development Bank’s Business Support Unit, Ms Kenja Morton, in confirming the general manager’s statement, is of the opinion that no country can achieve meaningful economic development if the rural areas are left out.

As a result, her unit at the bank has ensured that small and medium sized entrepreneurs who are based in the rural areas are given a special attention. It was for that reason that the bank assisted Mr Maxime Isaiah to open a gift shop on Main Street Sandy Point.

Maxime Isaiah attended the Sandy Point High School and joined the CFBC where he studied electronics. In 1999 he got a student’s loan from the Development Bank to attend the Lindenwood University in Missouri where he finished in 2004 armed with a bachelor’s degree in studio arts with emphasis in multimedia, ceramic sculpture, painting, drawing, graphic design, photography and illustration.

“Since growing up I always loved arts – I was always into arts, I used to always design,” said Isaiah. “For example when I attended high school while still in second form, I used to design for students in fifth form for CXC. I graduated from the Sandy Point High School in 1995.”

Ms Kenja Morton interviewing Mr Isaiah to find out how the business is doing

He went to Lindenwood University to study electronics engineering technology, but after a month of education he found out that the university had an arts institution and a programme for arts. Since he always wanted to do arts, he went to his advisor and told him that he wanted to switch.

Since his return from university, and apart from his regular job, he also does photography, graphic designs, and illustration, “for example if somebody wants shirts printed, or they want banners designed I can design them; I can do the illustrations to put on shirts, I can also do trophies – so if you need awards like for a queen show, track and field events I can do that too. I buy the components and put them together.”

With a loan from the Development Bank in 2006, he was able to open the gift shop, Smokey’s Solutions, which he says people call it a studio, because he has a well equipped studio where he takes pictures. But he does more than take pictures at Smokey’s Solution.

“The loan was a great help because I was able to get some of the machines that cost over US$9,000 and that does not include shipping, handling, and customs,” observed Isaiah. “Through the Development Bank I was able to get the money to buy the equipment and be able to bring them into the country.”

While business traffic cannot be compared with that of Basseterre, he has no regrets operating from the smaller town of Sandy Point. He is contented that he is able to save the people of Sandy Point unnecessary trips to Basseterre to buy gift items or have their pictures taken during occasions like birthdays, or graduation ceremonies and he thanks the Development Bank for having confidence in business persons living in the rural areas.

“I have never had a problem getting a loan from the Development Bank and as far as I am concerned, my future is secured,” said Isaiah. “The first loan I took is the same one that I used to buy the crystal machine and I bought stock. I got a second a loan where I upgraded the studio because everyone is going digital and I did not want to be left behind.”

The bank does not only give loans, said the bank’s business support officer, Ms Kenja Morton. It assists the clients complete their business plans, or advises those who already have the business plans if their businesses would be viable and advise them on how to improve it. Once the loan amounts have been released, the bank then monitors the project on a regular basis, a fact that was confirmed and hailed by the Caribbean Development Bank when one of its officials visited Isaiah at Smokey’s Solution in September last year.

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