Micro, or small business loans, and mentoring programs have been highly successful in many third-world countries, and now they are going to be available in the Northern Rivers.
A group of investors have united their collective capabilities to establish The Village Well Northern Rivers.
The Village Well is aiming to create a small business loan-and-mentoring program for local organisations that are focused on creating regenerative and resilient communities in the region.
It is being supported by a grant of $92,625 from The Northern Rivers Community Foundation (NRCF), thanks to support from the Ecstra Foundation.
An initial pilot program is being run, with up to 20 selected businesses, to establish the parameters of the project.
Following the pilot project, they will be looking for regenerative businesses that are focused on long-term social, economic and ecological benefits.
Examples include businesses that have a focus on health and well-being, agriculture, energy, education, social justice, climate resilience and local regeneration.
‘We are really excited to be supporting this innovative project,’ said NRCF chair, John Callanan.
‘The funding will be used to engage a project manager to run Village Well operations over two years.
‘The Village Well will help to build the financial capability of our local organisations, as well as a mentoring program that helps to improve financial literacy,’ he said.
Danny Almagor, chair of The Village Well Northern Rivers, said the aim is to build financial relationships with these organisations that are direct, transparent and personal.
‘Taking in all that has happened so profoundly in 2020, we truly believe this is what our region, and the world, needs right now – values-aligned capital coming together to support beautiful local regenerative businesses, to help them to thrive and deeply serve our communities,’ said Danny.
‘We look forward to being able to open the doors to more regenerative businesses in our region,’ he said.