EGI takes ideas & informal businesses and turns them into formal operations that can receive investment
We find the most promising Haitian entrepreneurs, train them and connect them to top investors and businesspeople who serve as mentors. Together with the entrepreneurs and mentors we create formal small businesses and find 1st level funding.
We were founded in 2005 in the aftermath of the 2004 crisis and work with entrepreneurs in the greater Port-au-Prince area.
I think that if more people had the opportunity to participate in something like this it would make a difference in Haiti James St Fort, EGI class 2011
Sandal manufacturing enterprise.
Offers OpenSource software solutions for small and medium enterprises
Expanding current internet cafe to teach computer skills to high school students
Expansion of existing chicken production enterprise to include egg and feed production. This enterprise is a formal partnership between an EGI entrepreneur and one of the most prominent members of the Haitian private sector.
We’re setting up an investment fund to provide seed financing for selected businesses. Invest in this fund and help our entrepreneurs to create sustainable growth in Haiti.
Interested in sharing your time and skills with Haitian entrepreneurs? Reach out to us about mentoring a business or teaching a work shop.
By Jeremy Forbes, Notre Dame MBA Class of 2016
As a prelude to the Notre Dame International Business Plan Competition, five fellow classmates and I traveled to Haiti in order to consult with the Haitian entrepreneurs taking part in this year’s competition. The entrepreneurs are all taking part in EGI’s training program, which provides the resources necessary to take their ideas to the next level.
Each day, we divided into two teams and met with every entrepreneur separately. This allowed us to get different perspectives and provide even more valuable feedback for theentrepreneurs. It also showcased how quickly these future business owners learn as they implemented the first team’s advice during the second meeting. We were able to have valuable conversations due to all of the work that EGI has already done with them. Every entrepreneur came prepared to present to us and was ready to answer the tough questions we had for them. One of the benefits of having non-Haitians have these conversations is that we were able to uncover many answers that are typically not talked about in the Haitian culture. Since we were unaware, the questions came naturally to us instead of being held back. This revelation was one of the most impactful portions of the consults because it really helped the entrepreneurs uncover a key element to being successful in the business world. It will also help EGI in continuing these deep conversations that were previously off limits.
During the course of the week, we learned a great deal about Haiti from these passionate entrepreneurs. Every one of them is looking to start a business that will have a positive impact on Haiti. Part of our goal was to teach them more about social entrepreneurship, but we found this to be something naturally engrained in their mentality. It might not be a formal definition of social entrepreneurship, but their heart naturally leads them to the same result. The same can be said for EGI.
Everyone that we met from EGI had both a strong sense of business and a passion for Haiti because they grew up here and run successful businesses of their own. It was easy to see the work they put in with the entrepreneurs during our meetings. EGI is grooming a strong wave of local businesses through their training program and I can’t wait to see how it continues to develop in the near future.
Toward the end of our trip we went on a hike. We were dropped off in two cars and we were picked up in one. I realized immediately that this was really a metaphor for our entire trip. We met with all of the entrepreneurs separately, but we came together in the end to discuss the best ways to make them successful. We all came to Haiti for the first time not knowing much about the country and we left with the same passion as the locals. We all arrived with different ideas, but we all left with a common vision. None of us had any idea what to expect on our trip and we all left vowing to be back next year.