USAID, PADF help strengthen Small and Medium Haitian Enterprises and Create 8,000 Jobs Through LEAD Project

Port-au-Prince, June 4, 2015—The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) organized a ceremony to honor the winners of a business plan competition as part of the LEAD project (Leveraging Effective Application of Direct Investments).

On Tuesday, June 2nd at the Karibe Convention Center, Mr. Christian Barratt, Acting USAID Mission Director and representative of the U.S. Ambassador to Haiti, joined Ms. Gladys Coupet, well-known Banking executive and former member of the Board of Directors of PADF, and a Representative of the Ministry of Agriculture from the Government of Haiti, in presenting award certificates. They congratulated the 31 winners on their successful launch of businesses in the areas of Cap-Haïtien, St-Marc and Port-au-Prince. More than 200 people attended the event from the private sector, financial institutions, international organizations and the Government of Haiti.

"Selected out of 272 applications, these 31 companies were able to present sustainable solutions to development challenges in Haiti," said Nadia Cherrouk, Director of the LEAD Project and PADF Country Director in Haiti. “More importantly, they all contribute to job creation in diverse and varied sectors.”

Through the LEAD project, these companies have benefited from capital and technical assistance to strengthen their capacity and grow their operations. The project prioritizes industries and businesses that have the greatest potential for job creation and promotes the integration of women and the disabled. So far, more than 8,000 jobs have been created in different areas including agriculture, tourism, renewable energy, recycling, and manufacturing.

"Today's ceremony is a celebration of the spirit of entrepreneurship in Haiti," said Christian Barrat. He also conveyed the sentiments of Pamela A. White, Ambassador of the United States to Haiti, by noting that "Haiti is too rich to be poor."

After the award ceremony, attendees explored the exposition, stopping by each of the winners’ tables to learn about their business. This provided an excellent opportunity for networking. Following the exposition, LEAD entrepreneurs participated in an hour-long Business-to-Business matchmaking session with financial institutions, business development service providers, and investors.

About LEAD
USAID’s Leveraging Effective Application of Direct Investments (LEAD) project aims to attract investments in Haitian SMEs and increase the development impact of remittances. LEAD operates in the following three development corridors: Cap-Haïtien, Saint-Marc, and Port-au-Prince. The project is implemented by the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF). Since 2011, LEAD has awarded grants ranging from USD$50,000 to $200,000 to 31 small- and medium-sized Haitian enterprises, allowing them to expand their operations and increase employment. www.leadinvestments.info

About USAID
The American people, through USAID, have been working around the world for over fifty years in humanitarian assistance and economic growth. For more information about USAID programs in Haiti, visit our website: www.usaid.gov/haiti

About PADF
PADF is a nonprofit organization that brings together many stakeholders to improve livelihoods, empower communities, strengthen civil society, support human rights, protect the environment and respond to natural disasters in Latin America and the Caribbean. www.padf.org