Employment Generation

LEAD Entrepreneurs Manufacturing New Local Jobs

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How two Haitian constructors have fought the odds to keep business local, boosting the area's economy by taking advantage of LEAD funding.

In Haiti, infrastructure projects are one of the largest employers in the national economy.  Even though aid from other countries boosted the construction/manufacturing sector after the 2010 earthquake, aid has decreased considerably in recent years. Regardless, the demand for quality, affordable, locally-produced, disaster-resistant buildings still remains.

"Locally-produced" is key. Hundreds of retail stores purchase construction material from foreign wholesalers before importing and reselling the material in Haiti. Very little construction material is produced locally, leaving a lucrative market valued at $70.91 million to manufacturers overseas.

It could be a huge market for Haiti, but that money is getting shipped off the island. Haitian construction/manufacturing companies face very few regulatory issues. Two companies have taken advantage of the situation and placed themselves as a permanent part of Haiti's construction sector.

The USAID-funded LEAD program is proud to sponsor two construction/manufacturing enterprises that have served Haiti by producing and constructing locally. The two businesses have been highly successful, independently creating over 1,000 jobs and generating over $5 million in sales. Here's a peek into what makes these enterprises so special:

A home designed and constructed by Veerhouse Voda, S.A.

A home designed and constructed by Veerhouse Voda, S.A.

Veerhouse Voda, S.A.

The 2010 earthquake was devastating, turning buildings into piles of rubble on the ground. Veerhouse Voda S.A. established in 2012 as a result of the earthquake, upon the premise that they could build build a new type of steel construction that would prevent future natural hazards from becoming disastrous. The foreigner CEO, Brendon Brewster, has faced setbacks and unique obstacles, like getting loans from local banks and convincing international investors to invest in a place as volatile as Haiti. After Veerhouse Voda leaped through hurdle after hurdle, they soon found the support they were looking for when they participated in the LEAD business plan competition.

Since winning the US-funded grant, Veerhouse Voda has attracted other investors, enabling them to open a steel frame manufacturing plant in Port-au-Prince. Veerhouse Voda serves its clients by offering a business model that reduces costly material and engineering expenses. Aside from quality construction, their clients appreciate their transparent and open way of doing business.

Their structures are Eurocode compliant, hurricane and earthquake safe, energy efficient, and allow for quicker construction than traditional methods. Veerhouse Voda sells its manufactured material to local hardware stores, thereby building local economy.

They also offer trainings for "affiliate builders," or their partners, on using a variety of steel frames they produce in new engineering techniques.

The company grossed only $360K last year, but this year they have six construction contracts totaling $3.9 million. Major construction projects include a therapy center, rehab center, dialysis center, hospitals, and schools.

Aside from their construction projects, Veerhouse Voda is launching several socially-oriented projects, including an educational program on Expanded Polystyrene (EPS). They also train other construction companies on how to use the EPS construction method, thereby disseminating their disaster-resistant construction methods.

As of August 2017, Veerhouse Voda has created 931 jobs and has generated $3.6 million in sales. Veerhouse Voda takes pride not only in its many building projects, but more importantly on the thousands of lives its projects have changed.

Expert Concept owner Monique Duperval presents on her company and LEAD.

Expert Concept owner Monique Duperval presents on her company and LEAD.

Expert Concept

Expert Concept S.A. is a woman-owned company that specializes in the construction of hurricane- and earthquake-resistant buildings. It constructs buildings using reinforced concrete or steel and provides electromechanical installation services. The company opened in 2006, but it wasn't until 2013 that it integrated into the metal structure construction market by opening one of Haiti's first metal factories. Its strategy is to offer specialized services that are usually outsourced to foreign firms.

After winning the LEAD business grant, Expert Concept had enough capital to open another workshop and since then, its production has increased significantly. The firm is part of the very few that offer quality construction services and products at an excellent price ratio.

In a highly male-dominated sector, Mrs. Monique Duperval, the CEO of Expert Concept, is the only woman in the country who is managing such a large construction/manufacturing company. The many successes of her projects have been acknowledged with awards all over the country. She's led the construction of schools, hotels, and the reconstruction of a college.

"The LEAD program's support has been a concrete bond," quips Duperval.

Expert Concept is now the only Haitian company that has a metallic structure workshop. With two strategically located workshops, it has been able to grow with more clients than ever. Expert Concept has created 275 direct jobs and generated $1.5 million in sales, as of August 2017.

More about our work in Haiti.

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

Chris Wooley
Program Manager
+1 (202) 458-3350

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

As Meninas Super Empreendedoras

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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

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

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.

Leveraging Investments with the Haitian Diaspora - USAID

"Today, more than 62 million Americans—a full fifth of the nation—are first or second generation diasporans."

Presented by a recent USAID report, this statistic exposes the potential of diaspora engagement in the United States. Although they may live far away, much of the diaspora population is still closely connected to their country of origin.

Click on the photo to read the report.

Click on the photo to read the report.

The report, released by the U.S. Global Development Lab, highlights several successful engagements of diaspora populations. Funded by USAID, our Leveraging Effective Application of Direct Investments (LEAD) program is featured for rallying the Haitian diaspora in the United States to support Haitian businesses.

The LEAD program has demonstrated a successful model for developing small- to medium-size enterprises in Haiti. Read more about the LEAD program.

Haiti is Open for Business: Lead Expo 2017

Haiti’s entrepreneurial spirit was on full display at an Expo showcasing Haitian- and diaspora-led businesses in Port-au-Prince on June 8. Dozens of businesses received funding and support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Leveraging Effective Application of Direct Investments (LEAD) program, which is implemented by PADF.

With the theme “Engines of Economic Development,” The LEAD Expo was a chance for entrepreneurs to network and display their products to members of the public and private sectors as well as potential investors. U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Brian Shukan congratulated the entrepreneurs on their success. “Today we celebrate you all as you display Haiti's economic potential,” he said in his remarks. Several of the LEAD entrepreneurs also spoke about their experiences running businesses in Haiti.

In total, the 45 LEAD enterprises have stimulated the Haitian economy by creating 13,695 jobs and producing $27.9 million in sales.

LEAD aims to facilitate the mobilization of investment capital from the diaspora and other sources and to increase the impact of that investment in small businesses and community-based social enterprises. Since 2011, USAID has invested $7.4 million in businesses in various sectors of the Haitian economy, unlocking $12.7 million in private capital.

Helping Youth Achieve Their Dreams

Lorain always wanted to be an English teacher, but circumstances made it extremely difficult for her to obtain the...

Posted by USAID Eastern and Southern Caribbean on Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and PADF, the Suriname Youth Development and Juvenile Justice Program, also known as Kari Yu!, brings together public and private partners to support the social inclusion and economic empowerment of youth. Working with the Ministry of Education, PADF developed a 60-hour training course, certified by the Ministry of Education, for youth who have dropped out of school.