The Excellence in Micro-entrepreneurship Award went to Belize's Javier Basto of Basto & Sons Plantain Chips. Basto will receive a cash prize of US$3,000.

Frying plantains in his backyard

In 2008, the entrepreneur launched into business by frying plantains in his backyard and selling to friends and neighbours in affordable US$0.50 bags in Guinea Grass Village, Belize.

With financing from La Inmaculada Credit Union for equipment and improved facilities, his business has expanded to seven employees and 5,000 bags per week; and includes cassava chips and churros distributed through grocery stores in Orange Walk Town, Corozal Town and Belize City.

The Citi Micro-Entrepreneurship Awards for the Caribbean is a collaboration of Citi Foundation, the Caribbean Microfinance Alliance (CFMA), and the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF). The awards are financed by Citi Foundation and administered by CMFA and the MIF.

The awards will be handed out annually. This year, the winners will be presented with their prizes at the Caribbean Microfinance Forum IV in Bridgetown, Barbados, on September 30.

The winners were picked from a field of five finalists in each category.

Basto topped Romaldo Cal of Cal's Bakery in his home country, Somaroe Khemradj, a rice farmer from Suriname, Guyana's Beverley Paton of Beverley Grocery, and Norine Roberts of S & N Enterprise in Grenada.