Enabling Dignity and Choice Through Entrepreneurship
Sameritan’s Enterprise – Micro-Enterprise Assistance Program (SEMAP)
In a 2001 Time Magazine interview, Tony Blair, the then British Prime Minister was quoted saying, “Africa is the only continent that’s gone backwards in the last 30 years.”
For many decades many African countries have been experiencing economic crises. The standard of living has continued to drop drastically. Many countries have seen their currency devalued and, in addition to the devaluation, salaries have been greatly reduced. Consequentially, many families are unable to afford basic necessities. Unemployment continues to rise at an alarming rate.
Samaritan’s Enterprise MICROENTERPRISE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (SEMAP) was founded as a ministry of Bread For Life to alleviate these conditions. To help the poorest of the poor take their first step up out of a circle of poverty by providing them with seed capital and business training to help them start an initiative to better their lives. From its inception, our desire has been to empower the most impoverished people realize their potential and strengthen their communities economically, following the mission of Bread For Life to help those it minister to in becoming spiritually, socially and economically vibrant.
Samaritan’s Enterprise Micro-enterprise Assistance Program (SEMAP) was designed to provide individuals and groups with an opportunity to receive assistance and acquire the skills necessary to operate, manage and grow their own small scale business. We envision doing this will reduce the circle of perpetual dependence on western benevolence and help the local economy and community.
- Our Samaritan Entrepreneurial Training component consists of hours of classroom training through Bread for Life’s “Effect of Vision” conferences and seminars. These seminars and conferences offer sessions covering all facets of operating a small business, e.g.”Why start a business?” “How to start a business.” How to write a business proposal.” “The Power and effect of a vision.” “Ethics & Business” etc.
- Selected participants also receive one-on-one technical assistance designed to produce a viable business plan. A Bread For Life staff visits regularly to access the business, interact with the new entrepreneur, and offer advise.
- After each training, a number of participants are given access to a micro-enterprise revolving loan fund based on a number of criteria. So far, BFL has given out a few thousand dollars in benevolence help. Our policy was recently changed from grants and benevolence funds to interest-free loans. We are building a revolving account, that way, funds are returned and redistributed.
Micro loans to believers have resulted in several successful Christian enterprises. Repayments of loans are used to help other businesses get started. Loan projects strengthen the church by making its members more able to support themselves and others.