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Students begin international micro-loan initiative

April 11, 2013


Hugs micro loan

Saint Francis University students recently traveled to the impoverished town of Maggotty, Jamaica for a mission trip. Kilee Bomgardner of Hershey, Dustien Garman of Gallitzin, and Leah Kessler of Johnstown, along with their advisor Ed Huttenhower, director of the Small Business Development Center, met with residents about economic development and provided business assistance and micro-loans to interested people in the town.

While in Jamaica, the students met with more than 100 applicants and were able to give four start-up businesses loans ranging from 10,000-35,000 Jamaican dollars. The loan recipients were not charged interest and have 12-18 months to repay the loan. The team is hoping the businesses will be successful and will create sustaining jobs in Maggoty.

“Every person we met in Jamaica was trusting, hopeful and appreciative,” said Kessler. “I felt privileged that the people looked up to me as a business woman, an educator and a friend.”

The Jamaica Micro-loan Initiative (JIMI) is a joint effort between the University’s Enactus team and Hugs United program. Students will begin fundraising this year so they have money to offer more loans to the people of Jamaica during next year’s spring break mission trip. For more information, please contact: Ed Huttenhower at: ehuttenhower@francis.edu or 814-472-3201.