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Women business owners start year in winning form courtesy of Access

As school reopens this week, early childhood administrator Janice Martin is still basking in the glow of the special recognition she received as one of three deserving customers of Access Financial Services recently.

Martin joined two other women business owners Sharon Mitchell and Rusheda Crawford selected as recipients of the company’s customer appreciation and corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative which saw them walking away with $50,000 each.

“This is such an unexpected and pleasant surprise. I cannot tell you how happy I am. It’s good to know that somebody remembers you. I’ve been a customer at Access for 17 years, shortly after I started my business, so we’ve been together for a long time. The relationship has been good, but this is extra sweet,” said Martin.

Acting Chief Executive Officer at Access Financial Hugh Campbell said the grants were in recognition of the tremendous work the women have been doing in their respective communities.

L-R: Business owner Rusheda Crawford; Access Financial Services Acting CEO Hugh Campbell; business owner Sharon Mitchell; Access Financial loans officer Ricardo Marsh; business owner Janice Martin; and Access Financial head Office Branch Manager Bronia Simpson all pose for a photo opp following the handover of tokens and cash in recognition of the women business owners and their work in their respective communities.

“All three women have a track record of service. They have not just been operating businesses, they have been providing essential services to the community. When you think about the many children that have passed through the doors of the Kidz-In-Paradise which is run by Miss Martin; or the support that Miss Crawford provided through her grocery shop during the pandemic, you can definitely see their impact,” asserted Campbell.  

Martin, who operates the Kidz-In-Paradise Nursery Pre-School off Windward Road in East Kingston, began her entrepreneurial journey in June 2004 with a summer camp for children. It expanded to a daycare facility in 2005, and later morphed into her current business which offers after-care and preschool services for children up to four years old.

Crawford’s grocery and variety shop has been a staple in the Lionel Town community of Clarendon for seven years. Besides her bubbly personality, Crawford is known for her dependability and her willingness to give back to her customers.

“It wasn’t easy, but we kept our doors open when many others were closed. The people depend on me and I depend on them. Every year I have customer appreciation to say thanks to my community for the support. It’s nice to know that Access recognized the effort and took the time to say thanks. I have never won anything so it’s very exciting for me,” said Crawford.

For business owner Sharon Mitchell, it’s also the thought that counts. “I’ve only had good experiences with Access since 2009. They make it easy to work with them. I’m so grateful for this added bonus,” noted Mitchell.

The women, who are served at different branches of the Access Financial network and are all in good standing with their loans, were selected based on their continuing impact in the communities in which they operate.

“About 70 per cent of our business loan customers are women. We know the work they do, not just to sustain profitable businesses, but also to take care of their children and families. The team checked across our branches to find three of these outstanding entrepreneurs who are also doing a great job in their community, to give something back to them. We hope this conveys our deep appreciation and serves to motivate them to keep pushing,” explained Campbell.

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