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PlaNet Finance Japan’s Tomodachi Fund will expand to Rikuchu Area with Mercy Corps and local partner, Miyako Shinkin

2013.02.14

 US, French and Japanese NGOs join forces to support rehabilitation of small businesses in Tsunami affected area, collaborating with local bank 

PlaNet Finance Japan, Mercy Corps, Shinkin Central Bank and Miyako Shinkin Bank today announced a groundbreaking global partnership to reinforce financial access of the small and medium Enterprises (SMEs) that are affected by the March, 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. The partnership, named as “Rikuchu Tomodachi Fund for Economic Recovery”, will provide financial access to SMEs for the reconstruction of their businesses in the Rikuchu area including Miyako, Kamaishi, Otsuchi, Yamada, Iwaizumi, Tanohata and Fudai in Iwate prefecture which are among the most severely affected by the Earthquake.  

The Rikuchu Tomodachi Fund for Economic Recovery aims to recover local economy and promote creation of employment opportunity in the area by replicating the framework of the SME recovery program in Sanriku region and Minami-soma city. In November 2011, PlaNet Finance Japan, Mercy Corps, Shinkin Central Bank established the “Sanriku Tomodachi Fund for Economic Recovery” with a local cooperative bank, Kesennuma Shinkin Bank, to reinforce the financial access of SMEs affected by the Tsunami in the Sanriku area (Kesennuma, Minami-Sanriku in Miyagi and Rikuzentakata, Ofunato in Iwate). In November 2012, PlaNet Finance Japan and the partners also launched the “Minami-soma Tomodachi Fund for Economic Recovery” with Abukuma Shinkin Bank in Minami-soma, Fukushima.

The Fund will provide grants and subsidies that are critical to the recovery of the SMEs with less than 20 employees before the Tsunami. It will offer;

 
  • Grant for reemployment of SMEs’ staff which were forced to dismiss their employees. The grant will create and support approximately 12 jobs by providing one-year long employment subsidy.
  • Grant to start up new enterprises reflecting newly emerged local demand for various services, including elder and child care, value chain reconstruction or delivery services for temporary housing units. The start-up fund will support approximately 10 local entrepreneurs.
  • Interest subsidy for new loan product for tsunami reconstruction that provide long term capital to rebuild the facilities and buildings lost by tsunami with free interest for 2 years with total amount of 10 million Japanese yen for subsidy.

 Initial funding of $600,000 comes from Mercy Corps and “Give2Asia Tohoku Disaster Recovery Fund” which was established to support the affected areas by Give2Asia (G2A). Since March 2011, G2A have focused on relief and recovery efforts, and helping to strengthen the local communities affected by the Earthquake.   

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