Micro Business

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Micro Business in Cuba

Helping the church by helping congregations get back to work.

Without a doubt, our micro-business initiative is exciting. But more importantly, it is meeting a great need in Cuba as the country struggles through a serious economic crisis.

When the government announced the layoff of a million workers, WorldServe felt the best way to help the church would be to provide a way for people to have their own means of livelihood through micro business opportunities. 

The concept of micro business has been used in many places throughout the developing world as a way of helping people launch business initiatives by providing small loans. In February 2011, WorldServe and some businessmen from Alberta and Manitoba sponsored the first conference for Christian business people in Cuba. Over 100 attendees from all over Cuba spent two days participating in keynote sessions, workshops, and training, which were intended to help people understand the how-tos of micro business, as well as to help them establish business principles and practices that are God honouring.

To date, WorldServe has helped fund 165 projects in Cuba with no defaults on loan repayment. Repaid loans are then loaned out again to fund new projects. Many of these business ventures are in agriculture--raising livestock or growing crops.  Examples of other small businesses include food establishments, furniture-making and carpentry shops, auto repair shops, bicycle taxi services, and sewing services--all of which have been extremely successful.

As you can imagine, teaching and training must be done as we move ahead with this initiative, which is why we also host training conferences to equip new and existing business owners with the good principles and practices that will help them succeed. After one of our training conferences, a young man just starting his business said, “This has completely changed the way I need to conduct my business. I did not understand how many different aspects there are to a successful business, and now I have some practical advice I can use.”

These projects have already helped support local churches, as all of the beneficiaries are trained to give a tithe of their profits. There is great built-in accountability for how these loans are used since they are directed through the church and supervised by others in the church. This is our purpose in getting involved with micro business in Cuba, to serve the church and make it a more effective witness in its community.

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