Overcoming Covid-19 challenges for business success: meet GPMI member Belinda Belo Curit
Belinda Belo Curit is a member of Grameen Pilipinas Microfinance Inc. (GPMI), Dana Asia’s key partner in the Philippines. GPMI brings microfinance opportunities to the most deprived communities and makes it possible for anyone to start their own business, no matter their background.
Business type: Vegetable Retailer (Sari-Sari Store) and Community Cafeteria Owner
GPMI member since: July 2020
Loan history: Completed 3 loan cycles of Micro-enterprise Loan
Compulsory capital build-up: PHP 9,359.00 (AUD 245)
Personal savings: PHP 2,831.00 (AUD 74)
Belinda lives in South Laguna with her husband and children. She is an extremely enterprising woman and has not let the fact that she has only completed secondary education stand in the way of her and business success. She hasn’t let her impoverished background deter her from trying various ways of earning a living. Her husband earns an income as a truck driver and Belinda is very passionate about supporting her husband in providing for their family. In 2016, she set up her first business venture: a makeshift structure on the side of the road to sell vegetables (sari- sari store). She would later sell home-cooked dishes here to augment their income and keep vegetable produce from waste. They were also able to put some funds into livestock trading and selling banana leaves to local food business owners to help promote zero-waste retailing.
Belinda was among the first beneficiaries of the GPMI hardship loan, a programme funded by Dana Asia that was introduced in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic to support business owners who were struggling. She became a GPMI member on 7th July 2020, and received PHP 15,000.00 (AUD 394) for her first loan cycle to be used to upgrade her sari-sari business. The loan funds have helped her build a more stable structure for her business and purchase equipment that makes cooking more efficient and convenient. Today, her sari-sari store-cum-cafeteria is a prominent structure on the roadside that serves refreshments and low-cost food to her community.
The day the branch manager interviewed her as part of her loan application, Belinda asked;
“Are you not afraid to release loans in the middle of the pandemic?”
To which the manager replied;
“We are not merely handing over money to you. We are also putting in our trust.”
Belinda has taken this trust very seriously, and has always repaid her loan funds on time.
Since her first loan, Belinda has completed three loan cycles and is currently the Centre Leader for Purok 3, Masapang, Laguna. Her business continues to grow and thrive, providing low-cost basic goods and hot meals to her community.