This week, I’m creating a “Loan Application Checklist” for cocoa cooperatives and entrepreneurs in the San Martin region of Peru. I met with seven banks
one afternoon, getting details on interest rates and terms to update a well-researched loan database compiled by last year’s volunteer, Yun Wei. Visiting
each bank, it became apparent that the people who need the loans most are the people who are less able to qualify for them. All of the banks require at
least 6-months of operation, with more favorable rates for those who have two to three years in the business. These entrepreneurs also need to show sales
receipts, utility bills, store lease agreements, and business plans. This is where TechnoServe and the Emerging Enterprise Program volunteers come in. We
help budding entrepreneurs refine their business plans, put together cash flow statements and sales projections, and facilitate their funding needs.
Saturday, TechnoServe put on a chocolate fair for their entrepreneurs in the small town Tarapoto. These entrepreneurs are the same ones who baked me a
massive Hello Kitty birthday cake earlier in the week, and the same ones who spoil me with lovely bon-bons in the afternoons.