Celebrating Women’s Empowerment across the Pacific

Empowering women to dream big and to achieve their dreams – and then supporting them along the way – is core to the success of the South Pacific Business Development (SPBD) Microfinance Network. SPBD believes in its members, 99% of whom are women, and sometimes all you need is somebody believing in you to give you the confidence to move forward, take a risk and start down the path of improving your life.

SPBD is especially focused on empowering women to start, grow and maintain micro-businesses, and the organization provides them with the access to financial and business development services as well as the opportunity to build assets, improve financial security and finance housing improvements and education.

Members like Linda Lango who, with SPBD support, started and developed a small business for her and her family. “I heard about SPBD, and I wanted to become a member. SPBD helped me to build my business when I didn’t have any financial means to do that. I like their approach, the savings policy and the trainings. It helps me a lot. I want to say to all the unemployed women who want to build and develop a business to come and join SPBD,” stated Linda.

SPBD not only offers meaningful economic opportunities to its members but also its female staff. SPBD promotes women to top leadership roles, with women holding 45% of the top positions across the network. At SPBD in Samoa, women hold 100% of the top three positions, and in Tonga the figure is 66%. SPBD is proud to showcase its successes for gender equity – 56% of SPBD’s workforce across the network is female.

“SPBD knows the power of women first hand. For 20 years, we have seen what they can accomplish. Our members want to improve their lives and their families’ lives. They want healthier housing, better nutrition, and better education for their children. They want the next generation to have a better life. So, how can they make that happen when there are so few jobs? Where can they turn when they have to rely on their own resourcefulness and their own skill set? They can turn to SPBD. We are so proud to provide the financing, support and training so they can get the tools they need to succeed,” says SPBD General Manager Florin Covaciu.

Since its launch in 2000, SPBD impacted more than 70,000 women. SPBD disbursed more than 225,000 small, micro loans to hardworking, low-income entrepreneurs in the South Pacific. SPBD Founder and President Greg Casagrande reflects, “Since our inception 20 years ago, SPBD has been on a journey to provide meaningful economic opportunity to underprivileged women micro-entrepreneurs. We invest in women, empower their dreams and deliver impact.”

On International Women’s Day, SPBD honors both our female clients and female staff for their hard work, drive, and determination.

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