Microfinance loans supporting entrepreneurs
18 January 2016
Mervyn Pinto's love for Portuguese Goan flavours stems from childhood dinners cooked by his Indian-born mother.
"I couldn't find anyone else importing Portuguese Goan food. I like it and I knew others would. I spotted a real niche there," Mervyn said.
But due to his circumstances, Mervyn didn't meet the credit requirements to get a traditional bank loan to set up his business. He was referred to the team at Many Rivers - Westpac's not-for-profit microfinance partner - who quickly saw potential in him and his ideas and gave him the help and access to finance that he needed to get up and running.
"The initial loan was useful. But what really got me going was the hand they gave me to get through the teething problems - setting up the right business disciplines, helping me make the right decisions, working out my forecasts."
The popularity of Mervyn's first small batch of imported pickles, condiments and pastes has seen him expand his product range and reach. Two Westpac microfinance loans later, together with ongoing coaching from Many Rivers' field officers, he is now exploring his business' next phase of growth.
Mervyn is one of more than 800 aspiring business owners who have been able to realise their dreams by accessing support from Westpac's microfinance partner Many Rivers, since 2008.