At AngloGold Ashanti’s Quebradona project in Colombia, Comfenalco Antioquia and the Pro Jericó Foundation came together at the end of 2020 to offer soft loans to entrepreneurs and small business owners. The project is called the Productive Transformation Fund and is designed to support the launch and growth of small businesses.
AngloGold Ashanti, through its subsidiary company in Colombia, Minera de Cobre Quebradona, founded the Pro Jericó Foundation in 2019. The foundation’s aim is to share part of the profits generated by the Minera de Cobre Quebradona project, and to work together with regional communities, municipal administrations and other institutions to make meaningful and sustainable change.
The foundation is one of the main enablers of AngloGold Ashanti’s social licence to operate in the municipality of Jericó, which is adjacent to the Quebradona project. It focuses on projects that:
- Improve social and educational infrastructure
- Improve the natural capital of the municipality of Jericó
- Promote productive activity
- Promote human rights
- Improve quality of life and contribute to the well-being of local communities
The new Productive Transformation Fund offers favourable loan conditions that are approved for a maximum of 25% of the minimum monthly salary in Colombia, and can be taken over 36 months or less. At 0.8%, the monthly interest rate is lower than the country’s traditional banking rate.
By the start of 2022, more than 60 entrepreneurs in Jericó had made use of the loan facility, and local businesses were starting to improve their products and services, expand their offerings, and employ new people. Edwin Álvarez is among the entrepreneurs who has benefited from the initiative to date.
Through the reduced interest rate loan, Edwin was able to set up his business, Rotam Bike Shop, a cycling store that offers technical services and specialised products for bicycles and cyclists. “We want to change the concept of what it means to be a cycling workshop in Jericó,” he explains. “Our goal is to provide great advice. Many people don’t know that bicycles have sizes, and that there are different types of tyres and that they have an expiration date. This information is important for people’s safety.” Rotam Bike Shop is already open to the public and plans to offer mechanical maintenance courses in the future.