Leveraging Effective Application of Direct Investments (LEAD)


Haiti’s private sector is an essential contributor to the country’s long-term economic development and vitality. The Haitian economy continues to be primarily driven by small and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs), which have the potential to create thousands of new jobs. However, SMEs have difficulties accessing financing, and are thus limited in their ability to grow. This new USAID project is aiming at Leveraging Effective Application of Direct Investment (LEAD) in order to attract investments in Haitian SMEs and to increase the development impact of remittances.

LEAD is designed to strengthen the capacity of SMEs to engage in best business practices; attract foreign and Diaspora investments; grow businesses; create jobs, and generate income.  In addition, LEAD will also work with the Haitian Diaspora in the United States and elsewhere to engage them in targeted philanthropic activities, social businesses, and innovative ways to use a portion of remittances to further the development impact of these resources at the local level.  The project will also focus on encouraging job creation for women and those with disabilities.

LEAD is strengthening SMEs in three corridors: Cap-Haitien, Saint-Marc, and Port-au-Prince. LEAD will provide up to US $1million in matching grants to Haitian small and medium enterprises by the end of July, 2012 to help businesses to grow and to create sustainable jobs in one of three ways:

  • To expand an existing business,
  • To diversify an existing business
  • To grow an existing start-up business

Up to 20 Semi-finalists will be given:

  1. Practical training in critical areas such as business planning, accounting, human resources, and marketing
  2. Guidance in developing a bankable business plan
  3. Individual consultations with business development experts to address the specific concerns of your enterprise
  4. Networking with financial institutions and other entrepreneurs

The finalists will be eligible for USAID grants, each of which could be up to US $200,000 that must be matched with private investments at a minimum ratio of 1:1.

The competition will be repeated and expanded next year.

Expected Results

LEAD will encourage and engage SMEs in a competitive environment, which will help them improve their capacity to increase their productivity and competitiveness, ant to expand their operations in local and export markets.

Over the life of the project, LEAD will:

  • Create thousands of new jobs
  • Provide grants to 40 SMEs (grants ranging from $50,000 up to $200,000)
  • Encourage Diaspora participation through investments in social businesses and local enterprises
  • Provide Business development Services (BDS) and training  to120 SMEs

How Can You Participate?

To be considered for LEAD’s business plan competition, an enterprise must:

  • Submit all required documents for application by 3pm on April 17th, 2012
  • Operate within one of the three development corridors in Haiti, and
  • Be a small or medium enterprise, as qualified by having:
    • From five to 100 employees,
    • Up to U.S. $1 million per annum in gross sales/revenues, and
    • Up to U.S. $1 million in total assets.
  • Be legally registered to do business in Haiti by the end of May 2012
  • Operate in one of the following sectors of:
    • Textiles/garment industry
    • Assembly or manufacturing industries (furniture, apparel, etc.)
    • Construction and infrastructure
    • Tourism
    • Storage/warehousing, logistics and transportation
    • Agricultural production, processing and agribusiness
    • Alternative energy
    • Information and communications technologies

Download a full LEAD Business Plan Competition (Year 1) package (instructions, cover page requirements and application forms) here:

English | French 

All completed application packages must be submitted to leadbpc@padf.org by 3 pm April 17, 2012.

A word version of the Business Plan Competition Documents can be made available upon request.