BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Feb. 11, 2021– For years, the downtown and Foreshore areas have been areas where self-employed men have sought to earn an income by providing car washing services for shoppers, workers and even tourists who visit the area. The Belize City Council’s most recent initiative has been geared at empowering these men to expand their services, and extending the line of self-employment in Belize City.
Through a partnership between the City Council, Prestige Auto Sales Co. Ltd., Westrac Ltd. and Hofius, seven individuals who regularly wash cars in the area were awarded with their own personalized washing equipment, cleaning supplies and customized shirts. Mayor Wagner and representatives from each of the partnering companies attended a private handing-over ceremony held at the Prestige dealership compound on Tuesday.
Following some remarks and well wishes, the seven recipients were also treated to lunch and a photo opportunity with their sponsors, and they also shared their views on how important they feel this undertaking is for Belize. When asked about the inspiration for the project and the intended outcome, Mayor Wagner explained, “This was about thinking outside the box. COVID has changed how we do business in the city and in the world. And once you are able to accept that COVID has changed how we do business, we have to begin to look at entrepreneurship — being your own boss. Because days where we had these big corporations hiring great numbers will not happen in the near future. So, we have to look at small businesses. Each one of these gentlemen here represents a business on its own. When we look at it, it’s seven to eight businesses starting up today. So, we as the City Council, we nurture these types of events. We nurture this type of assistance that we can do to impact the lives of those valuable residents living on the margins.”
The owner of Prestige Auto, Amado Badillo, as well as the branch manager for Westrac Belize City, Neil Wolfe, also shared their hopes that the recipients will make the most of this opportunity, not only to continue what they’ve been doing, but to also broaden their horizons and develop their services into a full-fledged business. One of the recipients who wished to be called Ferguson also expressed his gratitude when asked what the project means to him:
“I work hard and do my best every day. This is something that we’ve been doing. Working to survive and keeping to ourselves. So, I just want to give thanks for the materials we’ve been given by you all. Thanks very much for this stuff. I’ll continue to survive, continue to work and continue to be in the street doing all I can. Other people don’t make the effort to do good and work for their living. They only want to hurt others. So, for myself, this is just more motivation to be productive and to give back to the people and sustain myself,” he said.
The initiative, which was launched under the theme “4 Sure We Keep it Clean” is an extension of the Belize City Council’s ongoing Accelerator Program, which was launched in 2020 and was designed to empower budding entrepreneurs in Belize City.