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.
Last week at EGI we welcomed guest entrepreneur Ricardo Paulin. Ricardo is a Louverture Cleary School (LCS) and an EGI alumnus whose poultry business at the time of his participation hit some hard times and production had to be stopped. During his training at EGI Ricardo worked with two MBAs from the University of Notre Dame who helped him elaborate and clarify his business plan. In April 2013, Ricardo presented his business plan at our annual business plan presentation where he met prominent members of the private sector and representatives from banks and financing institutions.
As part of the EGI ecosystem Ricardo was introduced to a prospective mentor, one of the leading entrepreneurs in the country and owner of TOPCO Industries (one of the largest herring, garlic and other food products distributors of the country). The link was made and in November they made a formal partnership to start a poultry and egg production company. This partnership is the second of its kind for EGI, the first being the partnership between EGI graduate Salomon Asmath with the solar company Energy Central S.A..
On Thursday, February 13th Ricardo came to the EGI classroom and spoke to the 2013-2014 trainees about patience, focus, and perseverance in business. He related his experiences including details about doing business with the informal sector and the risks and challenges associated with it. He urged them to know themselves and define their personal goals and he challenged them to think differently about their business ideas asking them “Why this business?” as well as “Will this make you happy?”. He pushed them to think long term and consider where they want their businesses to go, how they want them to grow, etc. Most inspiring to the trainees was when he insisted that they always had to make sure that if they truly wanted to be successful entrepreneurs they had to be passionate about what they intended to engage in.
Ricardo left an impression that you’d expect to get from a motivational speaker and by the end the students were left temporarily speechless as their peer, their old school mate, talked about his success. For some, it was clear that they hadn’t considered some of the things Ricardo talked about. It seemed like he had actually reassured them that it was in fact possible to succeed.
He encouraged the trainees to take advantage of the opportunities and the network that EGI provides because “That’s what they’re there for!” he insisted. Very humbly he pointed out that without EGI he would not have had such direct access to professional resources like his new business partner, all the professional coaching or the lawyer who works with our entrepreneurs.
EGI is not a one-time training program. It’s a network, a community. We work to be a one-stop professional resource where our entrepreneurs can have training, support, professional advice, access to financial institutions and more. The relationships we form with parties and institutions such as many local business experts from Haiti’s formal private sector or MBA students from the UND Gigot Center, or some of our top investment banks allow our entrepreneurs a better chance at polishing their business plans and securing loans at appropriate rates. It also gives them access to a reputable business lawyer who can consult them on reviewing and discussing contracts that may not be fully beneficial to their businesses. Lastly, it makes them part of a community of likeminded professionals whom they can trust and turn to for support.
As an alumnus of EGI Ricardo thinks of his business as an EGI business and we could not be prouder of his success.