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Entrepreneur for the poor to visit NZ

Entrepreneur for the poor to visit NZ

Dynamic entrepreneur Rommel Caringal is visiting New Zealand from Saturday 8 October - Friday 14 October, to inform New Zealand donors about the amazing growth of World Vision's micro-enterprise programme in Cambodia.

In just a few years he has taken VisionFund Cambodia from zero in 2001 to over 22,000 clients and a loan portfolio of $US2.5m. Small micro-finance loans, as little as $US25, are invested by struggling entrepreneurs in small businesses, and the current returns are estimated to benefit the lives of over 88,000 children.

"It's such a significant investment in people's lives – a big bang for the buck!" says Rommel, who sees the micro-finance programme as an investment that keeps on giving.

He has a team of loan officers, many of whom are recent university graduates, who have set up a series of community banks in mainly rural areas to provide affordable micro-finance and business training to people with entrepreneurial drive and ability, who are living below the poverty line (US$1 a day).

"Without World Vision and VisionFund these people would be at the mercy of loan sharks who charge as much as 250% interest a year. Yet with a small loan, they can earn enough to feed their family properly, to educate their children, provide proper housing and even look at expanding their business," he says.

And under his management, VisionFund Cambodia has maintained over a 99% repayment rate since mid 2001.

Rommel Caringal is originally from the Philippines, and has a degree in philosophy. He has over 12 years of experience in developing banking products for the poor. Prior to working for VisionFund in Cambodia he worked with a number of Philippine national and international non-government organizations and and consultancy firms engaged in microfinance, indigenous people, and urban poor sectors.

His ambition for VisionFund Cambodia is to help lift over 72,000 people out of poverty by 2009, impacting over 250,000 dependent children, and with a loan portfolio of US$17.6m.

Rommel Caringal is available for interviews. Please contact Liz MacIntyre on 09 580 7718 or 021 643 619.

Rommel is in
Auckland Sun 9, Mon 10 Oct,Thurs 13, Fri 14 October
Christchurch Tues 11,
Wellington Wed 12 Oct


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