On January 23, we hosted a one-day Networking Forum at the beautiful Hotel Montana in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, with the goal of bringing together businesspeople and the NGO community to network and problem-solve issues that are hindering business and economic growth in Haiti.
60 people attended, and the group was equally split between Haitian business owners and representatives from international NGOs.
We heard presentations from several local businesses and social enterprises, including Deux Mains (fashion accessories from recycled materials), Selecto Coffee (a fourth-generation coffee business), Plastic Bank (plastics recycling), Digitalkap (solar), and more.
The energy at the event was palpable, and we found that one day was simply not enough time for everyone to connect. We could have continued meeting for several more hours!
While the event was a cherished opportunity for long-time members of our network to gather, it was also engaging for newcomers.
One shared that, “The most valuable part of the event was making new connections... this was my first PW event, and I hope to participate in more in the future.”
Others found the most valuable part to be hearing from other entrepreneurs and learning how they have overcome various challenges. Another attendee remarked, “I loved every part of the event; discussion was great, short speaker presentations were awesome, it kept the time flying!”
With this momentum, we're planning to host another event—either in person or online. During which, we’ll invite experts to address specific issues our network members would like guidance on, such as registering a business in Haiti, the hiring process, training middle managers, sourcing local ingredients and materials, and understanding labor law.
Whether a businessperson or an NGO representative, what draws this unique group together is a shared desire to remove obstacles to business growth and foster job creation across Haiti in order to sustainably lift communities out of poverty.