A few years ago, a great friend of ours in Panama named Luis Melendez was working a very strenuous job on the docks and not getting ahead. On top of that, he hurt himself and the company he was working for gave him his walking papers. We brainstormed with him for a couple weeks about what kind of business he would want to start. We first looked at pig farming and backed away from that after some volatility in the pork prices. Next we thought about getting a corn grinder to make feed for livestock. Finally, we noticed that there were really long lines for the buses into Panama City in the very community that Luis and his wife were living. So Luis put together a little business plan and we started to look for a bus. We finally found a bus on eBay in Florida that would suit our purposes in Panama.
So we shipped the bus from Panama City, Florida to Panama City, Panama. Luis got the bus and handled all the documentation to import. Once he got the bus cleaned up and registered with all the right departments, he was picking up commuters for a $1.25 each way from his town to the big city. One bus grew to three and we really realized that small loans to ambitious, hard working people can really pay off in the long run. That's when we got sold on the idea of micro lending.
When we decided to update the belt and make the no-holes Mission Belt®, we knew we wanted to give something back with every belt. Now a DOLLAR from every belt goes towards helping people in their fight against hunger and poverty. We like to think of it as corporate responsibility to give something back to hard working individuals that simply need a hand up. Often times the DOLLAR that we pass on represents 20% or more of our profit and we are a for profit business, not a charity.
Since inception we have sold thousands of Mission Belts and as a result, thousands of dollars have gone to help hard working people who need a hand up. There is more than enough for everyone. Thanks for being part of the Mission!
To read more about the “Mission” and see some of the most recent projects, please visit: http://missionbelt.com/pages/the-mission