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Buy Haitian, Restore Haiti Conference: 2018 Highlights

Last month, the sixth-annual Buy Haitian, Restore Haiti Conference took place in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. This year’s Conference hosted over 190 individuals, over 20 speakers, and 17 local Haitian business sponsors.

Each year, the Conference is hosted by 100k Jobs in Haiti, an advocacy and job creation initiative of Partners Worldwide.

The roots of the Buy Haitian, Restore Haiti Conference can be traced back to 2010 when a devastating earthquake struck Haiti.

Shortly after the earthquake hit on January 12, 2010, relief organizations began shipping large quantities of food, soap, hand sanitizer, backpacks, and countless other items into the country—items that were already being locally produced. Many Haitian businesses were adversely affected by these free goods being “dumped” into the local market, and some lost their businesses altogether.

In response, Partners Worldwide planned the first Buy Haitian, Restore Haiti conference—inviting the leaders of relief organizations as well as Haitian business owners to enter into a dialogue.

At the same time, Daniel Jean-Louis (then the Partners Worldwide Partnership Manager for Haiti) realized that for relief organizations and Haitian businesses to collaborate, they would need a common objective.

Daniel proposed setting a goal of creating 100,000 jobs in Haiti by 2020.

For the past several years, this bold objective has brought together Haitian business leaders, non-profits, and relief organizations to work together to foster job creation in Haiti. At this year’s annual Buy Haitian, Restore Haiti Conference, we witnessed a renewed commitment to that mission.

Highlights of the Conference include Devin Thorpe’s keynote speech, which shared encouraging entrepreneurial stories from Haiti and concluded with a vision for the bright future of Haiti. Daniel Jean-Louis, Daniel Meadows, and Ralph Edmond also spoke about how to foster long-term development and economic well-being across the nation.

Two panels discussed how to use partnership and networking to fight poverty and help business grow. They fielded questions from the audience and led an open, engaging dialogue.

The first panel consisted of business leaders from various sectors. They discussed the importance of partnership, alignment, and networking. An all-women panel of financiers—and the President of the Haiti Chamber of Commerce—discussed how to achieve financial success, and the need for support and guidance throughout the entrepreneurial process.

The Conference also provided a platform for three individuals from different Haitian organizations to share their ideas for how to nurture young people and help them develop the skills they need to be effective members of the workforce.

Finally, business sponsors at the Conference displayed a wide variety of products and services offered locally in Haiti. Each one is a promising example of how business is a viable and sustainable way to lift communities out of poverty through job creation.

Partners Worldwide and 100k Jobs in Haiti thank everyone who participated in the event. We look forward to continuing to partner together to restore Haiti in 2018 and beyond!