By Peter Ngunjiri:
Basseterre, St. Kitts*, *July 3, 2018 (DBSKN)* — Residents of the historic Old Road town and its environs now have reason to calm their nerves when it relates to matters of their health thanks to the partnership between a young female entrepreneur and the bank that makes a sustained positive difference in people’s lives – the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis.
Being a firm believer in the old adage that ‘a nation’s health is a nation’s wealth’, Ms Rachida Maynard saw a need to actualise the adage in her community of Old Road as many people, both young and old, would be forced to travel to Basseterre to buy even simple over the counter medicine, and woe unto them if it involved prescription drugs.
Her dream was realised on Friday June 22 when All Care Pharmacy on Main Street Old Road at the junction with Station Street opposite the Ebenezer Methodist Church was officially opened to the public. For the first time residents of Old Road can buy prescription drugs in their own backyard without having to travel to Basseterre.
Born in the USA to Kittitian parents, Ms Rachida Maynard grew up and went to school in St. Kitts but returned to Orlando, Florida, to pursue a course as a pharmacy technician. She went further ahead to study pharmacology, and she is the holder of a diploma in that field.
“At the time I was also working in a pharmacy and that is where I actually grew a passion for working in the pharmacy field,” observed Ms Maynard. “I worked at the pharmacy for at least ten years, and came back home in November 2016. I wanted to go on my own and therefore I applied to the Development Bank for a loan to start my business as I had found out that other young entrepreneurs would have benefitted from the bank’s Fresh Start Programme.”
Ms Maynard decided on the location of Old Road because she lives in the community and knew first hand that there was the need for a pharmacy. The nearest pharmacy for people in Old Road and neighbouring villages is the one at the Pogson Hospital in Sandy Point. She also reasoned out that Basseterre was saturated with pharmacies and it would have been a tall order trying to compete with the long established competition.
The loan application at the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis was approved within one month. Before the pharmacy got a licence she was selling over the counter medicine and other related items like beauty products. She was amazed that through the Fresh Start Programme she was able to get the loan without the need for a guarantor.
“Most banks, especially for a business, any type of loan they want you to get a guarantor,” said Ms Maynard. “At Development Bank I got the opportunity to get a loan to start my own business without a guarantor, and I find that to be awesome because most people do not want to stand up for you because they are scared if you fall behind in your payments they would take the responsibility. Development Bank has faith in young people.”
The new business has a pharmacist in employment who deals with prescription drugs, while it gets professional advice from a long established pharmacist who is glad to see young people doing well in business.
A thrilled customer who paid the All Care Pharmacy a visit on the day it officially opened, Mr Deon Webb of Old Road, had this to say: “This is something that is well needed in the rural side of the country. We are sick and fed up of having to travel to town late at night to get basic medication. This is a well needed venture.”
Assistant Manager, Business Support Unit at the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis, Mrs Kimmoy O’Loughlin-Burroughs, explained that the bank saw the opportunity for the business to be viable, as there is no other pharmacy in this area for the villagers in Old Road and the neighbouring communities who would be forced to travel to Basseterre to get any medical supplies that one would need.
“We saw the opportunity of the business being successful and the business working and providing for the needs of the people of the community,” said Mrs O’Loughlin-Burroughs. “We also saw that the owner Ms Maynard had the knowledge of the business, making her a qualified customer to receive funds under the Fresh Start Programme.”
The Development Bank official also took into account that Old Road town has a resident medical doctor and all the people he sees and prescribes medication for are forced to travel to Basseterre. It would make good economic sense, she reasoned, when a person comes out of a doctor’s office to walk across the road and purchase their medication.
“Also we want to stress that we always want to give young females the opportunity to pursue their business ideas,” explained Mrs O’Loughlin-Burroughs. “Once it is viable, Development Bank would be happy to be a partner to see the fruition of whatever the business. I could say that Rachida was very determined to get this business started – she was determined to see her dream come true, and I admire that.”