Celebrating sustainable businesses across the BVI

Unite BVI_Kickstart Loans
Unite BVI
Clare Kelly
by Clare Kelly
23 December 2020
Unite BVI was founded by Virgin Unite and Virgin Limited Edition in 2016 to help create new opportunities for communities across the British Virgin Islands.

Since its launch, Unite BVI has brought together the best people, ideas, and resources to tackle local community and environmental challenges - the foundation’s driving vision is to inspire and empower a generation of world-changers.

In keeping with this vision, Unite BVI’s Kickstart Programme provides loans to businesses that are innovative and have a ‘Force for Good’ approach to how they operate.

This year the programme offered both Micro (up to $5,000) and Impact (up to of $25,000) loans, rewarding sustainable businesses that address environmental and societal challenges in the BVI. These interest free loans present an incredible opportunity for entrepreneurs who often have limited access to financing and support.

Unite BVI
Unite BVI

Kim Takeuchi, Unite BVI foundation manager, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has escalated the need to inspire and empower local entrepreneurship as the BVI is facing increased economic challenges. Small island nations such as the BVI must find a way to create new jobs in emerging markets so as to diversify their economies, making them less reliant on vulnerable industries.”

All Kickstart loan applications were reviewed and scored by an independent committee and in early December Unite BVI, with partner VP Bank, awarded five Impact Loans and 14 Micro Loans to BVI entrepreneurs.

Some of this year’s winners include Emma Paul and her company, BVI Water Sports, a community-based programme focusing on developing watersports skills in young people, Lenette Lewis’ Material-ism – a reusable crafts company, making household items out of sustainable materials, and Libbie Oliver’s hydroponic farming company, Leaf and Vine Rooftop Garden, making fresh, locally-grown greens.

Unite BVI
Unite BVI

Lauren Keil, foundation manager of Unite BVI, said: “Investing in social impact enterprises is a respected philanthropic strategy among grant-giving foundations as it results in scalable positive impact that is more sustainable than standard grant-giving. The impact loan programme is designed specifically to catalyze and foster social entrepreneurship in the BVI for longer lasting philanthropic results.”

The Kickstarter programme is an important part of Unite BVI’s commitment to developing a vibrant entrepreneurial culture and being a driving force for social, environmental and economic benefit. For more information: www.unitebvi.com

Unite BVI Foundation is a not-for-profit foundation with a vision to create opportunities that inspire and empower a generation of world-changers, starting in the beautiful BVI. The NPO works to bring together people, great ideas and resources for sustainable positive impact. For more information check out the NPO’s website at unitebvi.com