Young Goiás Women to Become Entrepreneurs in New Empowerment Project

The project is known as "Meninas Super Empreendedoras" in Brazil.

The project is known as "Meninas Super Empreendedoras" in Brazil.

Leia em português.

Goiânia, Goiás, Brazil (August 21, 2017) - The Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), in cooperation with the Micro and Small Business Support Service (SEBRAE) of Goiás state, the State Secretary of Health’s Executive Group on Drugs (GEED), and the Pró-Cerrado Foundation, is holding a public event to launch a new project, Women Power! (WOMP!), which will empower young women in the region of Goiânia and Aparecida de Goiânia to improve their economic situations and well-being through entrepreneurship.

The event will be held at 2pm on August 24 at the Mauro Borges Auditorium in the Pedro Ludovico Palace in Goiânia’s Civic Plaza, attended by project participants, local leaders, and authorities. Directly following the kickoff event, 150 young women will attend the project’s first seminar on innovation and motivation.

“In Brazil, women do not have the same opportunities as men and frequently earn less than their male counterparts,” said Paulo Cavalcanti, PADF’s Country Representative in Brazil. “Many want brighter futures but they are particularly disadvantaged.”

Gender inequality in Brazil is a vast problem, evidenced by violence against women and disproportionate income between genders. The outlook is particularly grim for women of color, who are most likely to be poor and distanced from the levers of power. In Goiás, women’s income is only 70% of men’s. It is especially challenging for women to find business opportunities in non-traditional fields for women such as digital technology.

“We’re excited to have designed a program that allows young women to thrive by creating small businesses,” said Cavalcanti. “The best response to gender inequality is to empower young women.”

Young women in the WOMP! program will participate in seminars on confidence and self-esteem, complete an 80-hour entrepreneurship training program, and establish mentoring relationships with successful businesswomen to implement individual business plans. Upon completing the program, they will be equipped with the necessary knowledge, skills, and support to start small businesses.

“This is a great opportunity for young women to become entrepreneurial women capable of deciding their own future,” said Cavalcanti, “generating economic wealth for their families, and improving their quality of life.”

PADF is proud to partner with local organizations to implement the project. SEBRAE is an autonomous Brazilian institution that fosters the development of entrepreneurship and small enterprises. GEED is a specialized agency under the State Secretary of Health that coordinates public policy on drugs in Goiás. The Pró-Cerrado Foundation is a youth-focused organization that works with the private, public, and non-profit sectors to prevent school violence and dropouts, generate income and employment, and foster human development.

PADF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization affiliated with the Organization of American States that works to assist vulnerable and excluded people and communities in the Americas to achieve sustainable economic and social progress. PADF has worked in Brazil for more than a decade to promote environmental protection, increase health care access for vulnerable populations, and support local organizations.

Media contact:
Paulo Cavalcanti
PADF Country Representative, Brazil
55+61 3329.6006
PCavalcanti@padf.org

Chris Wooley
Program Manager
+1 (202) 458-3350
cwooley@padf.org

PADF on Twitter: @PADForg
PADF on Facebook: facebook.com/PADForg

As Meninas Super Empreendedoras

Card Meninas Superempreendedoras.jpg

Read in English.

Goiânia, Goiás, Brasil (21 de agosto de 2017) - A Fundação Pan-Americana para o Desenvolvimento (PADF), em cooperação com o Serviço de Apoio às Micro e Pequenas Empresas (SEBRAE) do Estado de Goiás, o Grupo Executivo de Enfrentamento as Drogas (GEED) e a Fundação Pró-Cerrado, realiza um evento público para lançar um novo projeto, Meninas Super Empreendedoras, que capacitará mulheres jovens na região de Goiânia e Aparecida de Goiânia a melhorar sua situação econômica e seu bem-estar através do empreendedorismo.

O evento será realizado às 14 horas do dia 24 de agosto no Auditório Mauro Borges, no Palácio Pedro Ludovico, na Praça Cívica – centro de Goiânia e será assistido pelas participantes do projeto, líderes locais e autoridades. Como parte do evento inicial, 150 jovens mulheres participarão do primeiro seminário sobre inovação e motivação do projeto.

"No Brasil, as mulheres não têm as mesmas oportunidades que os homens e, com frequência, ganham menos do que homens em posições idênticas", afirmou Paulo Cavalcanti, representante da PADF no Brasil. "Muitas querem um futuro mais brilhante, mas são particularmente desfavorecidas".

A desigualdade de gênero no Brasil é um grande problema, evidenciado pela violência contra as mulheres e a renda desproporcional entre os gêneros. A perspectiva é particularmente sombria para as afrodescendentes, que são mais propensas a ser pobres e distanciadas dos altos níveis do poder. Em Goiás, a renda mensal das mulheres é de apenas 70% do que ganham os homens.

“É especialmente desafiante para as mulheres encontrarem oportunidades de negócios em campos não tradicionais para elas, como a tecnologia digital. Por isso estamos ansiosos por haver projetado um programa que permitirá que as mulheres jovens prosperem criando pequenas empresas", disse Cavalcanti. "A melhor resposta à desigualdade de gênero é capacitar mulheres jovens para que se tornem empresárias de futuro".

As mulheres jovens do programa Meninas Super Empreendedoras participarão de seminários sobre confiança e auto-estima, cumprirão um programa de treinamento empresarial de 80 horas e estabelecerão relacionamentos de mentorías com empresárias bem-sucedidas para implementar planos de negócios individuais. Ao concluir o programa, elas estarão preparadas com os conhecimentos, habilidades e o suporte necessário para iniciar pequenas empresas, além de terem uma nova visão para suas vidas.

"Esta é uma ótima oportunidade para essas jovens se tornarem empreendedoras capazes de decidir o seu próprio futuro", disse Cavalcanti, "gerando riqueza econômica para suas famílias e melhorando sua qualidade de vida".

A PADF tem orgulho de se associar com organizações locais para implementar esse projeto. O SEBRAE é uma instituição autônoma brasileira que promove o desenvolvimento do empreendedorismo e das pequenas empresas. O GEED é uma agência especializada da Secretaria de Estado da Saúde que coordena a política pública de enfrentamento as drogas em Goiás. A Fundação Pró-Cerrado é uma organização orientada para a juventude sem fins lucrativos e que trabalha com os setores publico e privado para prevenir a violência e o abandono escolar, gerar renda e emprego, além de promover o desenvolvimento humano.

A PADF é uma organização sem fins lucrativos 501(c)(3) afiliada à Organização dos Estados Americanos que trabalha para ajudar pessoas e comunidades vulneráveis excluídas nas Américas a alcançar um progresso econômico e social sustentável. A PADF trabalha no Brasil há mais de uma década para promover a proteção ao meio ambiente, responder a crises humanitárias e aos desastres naturais, aumentar o acesso aos cuidados de saúde para populações vulneráveis apoiar organizações locais.

Contato com a imprensa:
Paulo Cavalcanti
Representante do país PADF, Brasil
55+61-3329.6006
Pcavalcanti@padf.org

PADF no Facebook: @PADFbrasil, @PADForg
PADF no Twitter: /padfnobrasil,  /padforg

Book Review: Globalized Fruit, Local Entrepreneurs

Globalized Fruit, Local Entrepreneurs

Book Review by John Sanbrailo

Written by Douglas Southgate and Lois Roberts

Reviewed by John Sanbrailo, Executive Director of PADF, former USAID Mission Director in Ecuador.

Many books and articles have been written about the banana business, which is hardly surprising in light of its sheer size.  As reported at the beginning of Globalized Fruit, Local Entrepreneurs, banana exports outstrip international shipments of every other fruit and vegetable.  The global banana trade is also more important than the global rice trade, since cross-border shipments of the staple grain are tiny relative to national harvests and domestic consumption in China, India, and other nations.

Another reason for all the books and articles about the banana industry is that no part of the food economy is associated more closely with large corporations headquartered in the United States.  The industry was largely the creation of the United Fruit Company, called the Octopus because of its near monopoly in the U.S. market as well as its control of supplies in the Caribbean Basin for many years after its founding in 1899.  And since the 1930s, the exploits and abuses of United Fruit (now Chiquita Brands International) and other firms in banana republics south of the U.S. border have been a recurring theme of the scholarly literature and writings intended for a general audience.

The book written by economist Douglas Southgate and historian Lois Roberts has a different focus.  Rather than hewing to the standard banana republic narrative, they are primarily interested in the contributions that homegrown entrepreneurs have made to tropical fruit development.  The importance of these contributions in Colombia since World War II is stressed by Marcelo Bucheli, a historian at the University of Illinois.  Southgate and Roberts’s book is mainly about Ecuador.

Ecuador is considerably smaller and poorer than Colombia, just to the north, so one might assume that the Octopus has dominated the country economically and politically.  Reinforcing the perception that Ecuador is just another banana republic is that it has been the world’s leading exporter of tropical fruit since 1953.  As is documented in Globalized Fruit, Local Entrepreneurs, United Fruit and other U.S. firms have left their mark on Ecuador’s banana industry.  However, Southgate and Roberts emphasize that the country became a fruit-exporting powerhouse without sacrificing its independence.

The two authors examine all factors underlying this accomplishment.  For one thing, western Ecuador, where banana production is concentrated, has various environmental advantages, not least fertile soils and a Caribbean climate minus the hurricanes.  Additionally, the national government has at times facilitated expansion of the tropical fruit sector, particularly during the presidency of Galo Plaza Lasso from 1948 to 1952.  But the key players in that expansion have been Ecuadorian entrepreneurs.  Those individuals, Southgate and Roberts contend, deserve much of the credit for the worldwide reach their country has achieved in the banana business – worldwide reach that helped bring down the Berlin Wall in 1989, as some German leaders and writers have maintained.

Individuals such as Juan X. Marcos, Luís Noboa, and Segundo Wong pursued their careers in Guayaquil:  a hub for export-oriented entrepreneurship for more than a century.  Thanks largely to venturesome merchants in the port city, Ecuador was the leading supplier of cacao to European and U.S. chocolate manufacturers during the late 1800s and early 1900s – as described in one of Roberts’s other books.  The cacao boom, which ended after World War I, left Guayaquil with a network of essential business services.  Ecuador’s commercial capital also possesses something not matched by any other banana exporter:  a national market worthy of the name, one in which hundreds of growers (the vast majority with modest holdings) sell their harvests to dozens of exporters and other buyers.  This market, which has not been fully replicated in any banana-exporting nation, is an ideal setting for entrepreneurship and is a fundamental reason why Ecuador has remained atop the global banana industry for decades.

Forgoing a reprise of the familiar narrative about the Octopus and its hold on banana republics, Southgate and Roberts instead set the record straight.  Dr. Joachim von Braun, formerly the director of the International Food Policy Research Institute and now a professor at the University of Bonn, observes that Globalized Fruit, Local Entrepreneurs “refreshingly corrects conventional wisdom about the banana industry.”  In particular, the book sheds light on something inconceivable for adherents of the banana republic narrative:  United Fruit’s old monopoly is gone, thanks largely to the efforts of Marcos, Noboa, Wong, and others like them.

What’s more, the Octopus no longer exists as an independent, U.S.-based industry.  In October 2014, Brazilian investors announced they would be buying Chiquita, “lock, stock, and bananas,” as Southgate and Roberts observe.  Generations of the company’s admirers and critics, they add, would be astonished.

 

Papagaio de Cara Roxa

A Sociedade de Pesquisa em Vida Selvagem e Educação Ambiental (SPVS) foi selecionada no edital do Disney Conservation Fund (DCF), que apoia projetos de conservação da natureza. O incentivo reconhece o esforço do Projeto de Conservação do Papagaio-de-cara-roxa, iniciativa da SPVS com parceria da Fundação Pan-Americana de Desenvolvimento (PADF) para preservar a população da espécie.

O Papagaio-de-cara-roxa existe apenas no Brasil, numa estreita faixa do Bioma Mata Atlântica do litoral do Paraná ao litoral sul de São Paulo. O projeto começou em 1998 e, em 2014, a espécie saiu da categoria “vulnerável” na Lista de Espécies da Fauna Brasileira Ameaçadas de Extinção, organizada pelo Ministério do Meio Ambiente. Hoje, o Papagaio-de-cara-roxa é considerado “quase ameaçado”.

Este folheto existe para educar o público sobre como proteger as espécies ameaçadas de extinção.

Leia mais sobre este projeto.

Urban Disaster Resilience Workshop in Guatemala

July 18, 2017 - In Guatemala City and its surrounding urban areas, many poor families are forced to live on steep hillsides in lieu of flat terrain. Living on hillsides makes already at-risk families even more vulnerable, often putting their entire livelihoods at stake. An especially rainy week combined with a small tremor or earthquake could be disastrous for thousands of families living in precarious situations.

Every time there's a disaster it's evident: Guatemala needs to improve its capability to prepare for and mitigate disaster.

On Wednesday, July 12, PADF and partners hosted a workshop on urban resilience, titled the "First Urban Resilience Meeting." The event was part of the Yo Me Preparo project, which focuses on disaster risk reduction in Guatemalan hillside communities. The project is funded by Taiwan and implemented by PADF.

The day's objective was to share knowledge and bring an array of experiences and perspectives to the table. By engaging various sectors, authorities can improve the way they serve and protect vulnerable urban populations.

#1ERU on Twitter

“Guatemala is among the most vulnerable countries due to its geographic position and sociopolitical situation,” said Lucía España, Technical Lead for PADF Guatemala. “For these events it’s vital to share information and look for solutions across all sectors.”

Disaster risk reduction relies highly on coordination between national and local government, civil society, municipal government, academia and communities themselves. The event brought together all of those actors to catalyze the spread of knowledge and share best practices.

Lucía notes that community organizations and nonprofits have a responsibility, but “it is the municipality paired with the local and national disaster management teams that have the greatest responsibility for these processes to become sustainable.”

The event's organizers and speakers included PADF, Techo Guatemala, the Guatemalan Red Cross, ESFRA, CESEM, Mancomunidad Gran Ciudad del Sur, COOPI, Perpendicular, CONRED, and the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations.

Guatemala's local disaster response teams, or COLREDES, presented their successes and shared their challenges during one forum event. Discussion also focused on the use of new tools and technology to further mitigate disaster. A final forum brought up local implications for new national laws and how local entities should continue serving under new legislation.

The Yo Me Preparo project’s inclusive approach to disaster risk reduction has shown that a wide range of communities and organizations play an important role. The project has focused on strengthening links between sectors, thereby creating a more sustainable form of collaboration.

Primer Encuentro de la Resiliencia Urbana

“Creando vínculos para construir resiliencia urbana”

Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala (12 de julio de 2017) -- La Fundación Panamericana para el Desarrollo (PADF, por sus siglas en inglés), en coordinación con Cooperación Internacional (COOPI), la Cruz Roja de Guatemala, PERPENDICULAR, TECHO, Centro de Estudios Superiores de Emergía y Minas (CESEM) de la Facultad de Ingeniería de la Universidad San Carlos de Guatemala, Mancomunidad Gran Ciudad del Sur y Fundación Ecuménica Guatemalteca Esperanza y Fraternidad (ESFRA), llevarán a cabo el Primer Encuentro de Resiliencia Urbana-1ERU: “Creando vínculos para construir resiliencia urbana”, el día miércoles 12 de julio en la Universidad Rafael Landívar, Campus Central Vista Hermosa III, zona 16, Cafetería Central, de las 8:00 a las 17:00 horas.

El encuentro se enmarca dentro del proyecto “Yo Me Preparo”, financiado por Taiwán, el cual busca fortalecer a comunidades urbanas en laderas que son vulnerables ante inundaciones y deslizamientos. El proyecto ha logrado involucrar a universidades tales como George Washington de EEUU y la Universidad Rafael Landívar, al sector público trabajando en coordinación con la Municipalidad de Mixco y la Mancomunidad de la Gran Ciudad del Sur, a las comunidades formando COLREDES y además realizando una obra de mitigación en la Comunidad El Campanero en zona 8 de Mixco y el sector privado. Durante el último año se ha trabajado en el tema de resiliencia urbana en el área de la Mancomunidad Gran Ciudad del Sur (Villa Nueva, Amatitlán, Villa Canales, San Miguel Petapa, Mixco, Santa Catarina Pinula) y otras zonas del área metropolitana. Por ello, el objetivo del 1ERU es compartir vivencias y lecciones aprendidas, de las experiencias vividas, fortalecer los conocimientos, exponer los retos actuales a los que se enfrentan las comunidades y definir una posible ruta de acción. Así mismo, se busca fortalecer la red de actores de gobierno, municipales, sociedad civil, y la academia que abordan este tema con el fin de unir esfuerzos y plantear soluciones integradoras e innovadoras.  

“PADF buscó aliados estratégicos para poder realizar este evento, en el cual nuestro objetivo es que se creen y fortalezcan vínculos que permitan que la gestión del riesgo sea abordada desde la planificación al desarrollo. Guatemala está entre los países más vulnerables debido a su posición geográfica y situación sociopolítica. Por eso este tipo de eventos es necesario para compartir información y buscar soluciones en conjunto con todos los sectores.” -Lucía España

Durante el encuentro, que contará con la presencia del Sr. John C. Lai, Embajador de Taiwán ante Guatemala, se abordarán temas como experiencias en la preparación de Comités de Emergencia Local (COLREDES), la construcción de los vínculos municipales, uso de la tecnología y la innovación social para la gestión integral del riesgo y un último foro que abordará de manera más profunda el Acuerdo Gubernativo 179-2001. Durante el año 2001, el Consejo Científico del Sistema CONRED, coordinado por el Instituto Nacional de Sismología, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrología (INSIVUMEH), mediante la elaboración de estudios previos, recomendó a la Junta y Secretaría Ejecutiva para la Reducción de Desastres declarar zonas de alto riesgo todas aquellas quebradas, ríos, zanjones y barrancos que conforman las cuencas del río Villalobos, Michatoya y del lago de Amatitlán. Las áreas consideradas de alto riesgo fueron oficializadas mediante el Acuerdo Gubernativo No. 179-2001, el cual determina que es una zona altamente susceptible ante la ocurrencia de eventos de origen natural (hidrometeorológicos y geológicos).  A raíz de la declaratoria emitida por el Consejo Científico, la cual establece un rango de 100 metros horizontales de cada lado a partir del centro de cada una de los accidentes geográficos mencionados anteriormente, se restringe la inversión pública y privada. 

Adicionalmente, en el marco del 1ERU, se llevará a cabo el “Café Ciudadano”, un espacio en el que las organizaciones participantes expondrán temas tales como resiliencia urbana, el Marco de Sendai, entre otros.

Desde el 2012, PADF y Taiwán han colaborado en países a lo largo de la región en la atención de emergencias y desastres de origen natural. El Fondo Taiwán–PADF para la Atención y Reconstrucción ante los Desastres ha sido una alianza de cinco años para fomentar programas de preparación y mitigación. Han sido desarrollados proyectos de preparación para desastres de origen natural con enfoque comunitario en Haití, República Dominicana, Honduras, San Vicente y las Granadinas, Belice, y Guatemala. El Fondo de Atención y Reconstrucción ante los Desastres ha asistido a más de 300.000 personas en América Latina y el Caribe.

Beyond Microfinance: Empowering Women in the Developing World

Dr. Tavneet Suri explained about mobile money, a new alternative to microfinance.

Dr. Tavneet Suri explained about mobile money, a new alternative to microfinance.

This morning, the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs convened a hearing entitled “Beyond Microfinance: Empowering Women in the Developing World” during which a panel of experts in the field of financial inclusion advocated for the economic empowerment of women worldwide. The witnesses called to testify before the Committee brought to the panel extensive professional experience in gender issues and development: Ms. Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO of Women’s World Banking; Dr. Tavneet Suri, Professor of Economics at MIT; and Ambassador Melanne Verveer, Executive Director of Georgetown University’s Institute for Women, Peace and Security. Each spoke to their specific area of expertise, but all three emphasized the drawbacks and limitations of microfinance—a financial mechanism once hailed as the silver bullet of development. The three panelists highlighted the findings of seven separate studies, each demonstrating that putting the world’s poorest populations in debt does not, in fact, lead to long-term, sustainable economic prosperity. Like anyone else, the recipients of microfinance loans have complex financial needs that necessitate multiple financial instruments for savings, insurance, and credit, among other things. 

Mobile money was repeatedly mentioned as an alternative to microfinance. It's a strategy that has begun revolutionizing the landscape of financial transactions across the developed and developing worlds alike. Programs that can send funds directly through a text message (like PayPal, but for basic, non-smartphones) create greater financial security through interactions within one’s own social network. For example, the mother of a child who has fallen ill can request money from relatives virtually, rather than cut back on basic necessities or pull her other children out of school to help work to fund the medical care. This method, unlike microfinance, is especially empowering and financially stabilizing for women. Though mobile money as a development strategy is a promising prospect, more research and evaluation is needed to fully understand its implications and effectiveness. 

Apart from the technical financial mechanisms discussed, the witnesses underscored the importance and value of incorporating women into the financial world. Women prioritize the family in financial spending: they spend 34% more than men on education, health, and other needs that improve the wellbeing of their children and their household. As such, solidifying a stable financial foundation for women can catalyze positive development across the spectrum, fostering greater stability within families and communities which, in turn, produces more peaceful and prosperous societies. 

Bolivian Community Defenders Curb Human Trafficking

July 11, 2017 - Slavery is one most atrocious violations of basic human rights. It may take the form of sex trafficking, forced or bonded labor, domestic servitude or the recruitment of child soldiers. Modern slavery affects women, children and men alike.

The U.S. Department of State’s recently released Trafficking in Persons Report rates each nation based on how well they meet minimum standards for elimination of trafficking. According to the report, Colombia, Guyana and Chile are most adequately meeting standards, while Belize and Venezuela are neither meeting minimum standards nor making significant efforts to do so.

Bolivia, labeled a “Tier 2 Watch List” country, is an origin, destination and transit point for trafficking in persons. The Bolivian government has made an effort to prevent trafficking, but the number of victims of severe forms of trafficking is significant or increasing. The absence of sufficient programming still characterizes Bolivia as a high-risk country for human trafficking.

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"Rural and poor Bolivians, most of whom are indigenous, and LGBTI youth are particularly vulnerable to sex and labor trafficking," according to the report. "Bolivian women and girls are found in sex trafficking within Bolivia and in neighboring countries. Within the country, Bolivian men, women, and children are found in forced labor in domestic work, mining, ranching, and agriculture."

PADF is working with local nonprofit Fundación Construir to implement a project in Bolivia that combats human trafficking in rural areas of the country, where most trafficking crimes occur and go unreported. We are training a team of rural indigenous women as Community Defenders to educate, advocate and coordinate anti-trafficking actions and encourage cooperation between government agencies.

The project is educating communities and local officials on human trafficking, and will share successes and methodologies so that they may be applied to future initiatives against slavery in indigenous areas.

The project is focused on underserved indigenous populations in Bolivia’s La Paz, Oruro and Cochabamba departments, recognizing the important role that rural community leaders, particularly indigenous women, can play as agents of change. The goal is to encourage local cooperation in the prevention of human trafficking and to provide assistance to victims and those at risk.

Aside from violating an individual's human rights, trafficking "destroys families and communities, weakens the rule of law, strengthens criminal networks, and offends universal concepts of human decency," according to the report. "Traffickers often prey on those without security or opportunities, coerce and deceive them, and then profit from their compelled service."

The covert nature of human trafficking conceals the sheer number of slaves from the public eye, with an estimated 20 to 30 million people forced into slavery around the world. Slavery quietly thrives in situations of little public awareness and corruption among public officials.

By using grassroots methods to reach at-risk populations, we believe that the atrocities caused by human trafficking can be curbed. This means engaging directly and with respect for indigenous officials, traditions and customs. To support the effort to stem human trafficking, read the project factsheet or make a donation.

Port-au-Prince Entrepreneurs Receive Financing and Training

Residents of Canaan, a settlement that appeared on Port-au-Prince’s outskirts after 209,000 Haitians were displaced in the 2010 earthquake, are getting access to financing and job training.

It’s part of a $1.7 million project sponsored by the American Red Cross and USAID Haiti. PADF and Global Communities are implementing the yearlong project, called “Ann Bouste Canaan.” The goal is to promote equitable & resilient urban development by creating jobs and preparing people for the workforce.

One objective of the program is to train 150 young people in vocational schools. On June 13, youth completed their training. They received certificates in sewing, after studying for several months at a vocational school run by the nonprofit INDEPCO.

207 young Haitians received technical job training in a variety of fields.

207 young Haitians received technical job training in a variety of fields.

“Today I’m a new person,” said John Dolly Louis Charles, who was proud to receive his certificate. “I thank all the institutions that contributed to this project.”

John was part of the textiles training, but 200 others his age are training in computer science, floral art, and plumbing. Upon completing the two-month training, each trainee will be integrated into the program’s employer network.

The project, which started last July, has already made huge progress in training workers and equipping small businesses in Canaan.

Winning entrepreneurs celebrate their awards

Winning entrepreneurs celebrate their awards

In January, over 350 entrepreneurs applied to have their ideas brought to life in a business plan competition. After a 10-stage selection process, 29 businesses were awarded funding.

As a result of the funding, the winning businesses are expected to generate 400 new jobs.

An additional 30 small businesses will receive technical training on microfinance and accounting, including access to online credit.

Finally, 150 small business owners will get connected to microfinance institutions for financial services like micro loans and insurance.

The project is launching Haiti’s working class on an upward trajectory. Young people are training and becoming workplace-ready, and established businesses are receiving the financing and technical assistance necessary for long-term growth.

For young people like John, it’s a chance to have a livelihood. “I have a craft and I look forward to taking care of myself,” he says.

Urban Oasis: A Haitian Entrepreneur's Vision

Pink hibiscus flowers greet visitors to Lakou Breda, a hotel in northern Haiti's city of Cap-Haïtien. The gardens are full of fruits and vegetables and guests can see chickens, guinea fowl and rabbits roaming the grounds. It's an oasis in the city with historic significance as the home of Toussaint L’Ouverture, leader of the Haitian independence movement during the French Revolution.

At the heart of the hotel is owner Herold Decius, whose persistence and vision has created a sanctuary for the local community as well as for weary travelers. Lakou Breda also offers nature classes for young school children. 

Born in Cap-Haitien, Herold attended school in Canada, but longed to return to his homeland. “The day I finished university, I took a plane back to Haiti,” he says.

But starting a business in Haiti wasn't easy. “The loan at the bank is really expensive,” he says. “It's very difficult.”

Decius received a matching grant and technical assistance from the Leveraging Effective Application of Direct Investments (LEAD) program, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The program supports small and medium-sized Haitian business, allowing them to expand their operations, increase employment and spur economic growth. 

Today, the hotel includes 46 apartments and 10 bungalows. Decius is in the process of expanding the business to offer a full-service conference center and pool. Even before the construction started, the Haitan National Police came for a three-day conference.

“We’ll have the best conference room in Cap-Haitien,” Decius says. “It will be sold out.”

In addition to funds, LEAD is providing Decius with technical support in tourism, administration and marketing. 

For Decius, the secret to becoming a successful entrepreneur is never giving up. 

"You have to adapt," he says. "It’s like driving from Port-au-Prince to Cap-Haitien. You know where you want to go, but you have to adjust your course to avoid potholes.”