[Port-au-Prince] – The U.S. government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), will help 11,000 underserved businesses in the North, Central, and South departments of Haiti access the technical support, financial services, and skilled labor they need to become profitable. To date, USAID’s ATTEINDRE project, implemented in partnership with Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), has awarded grants to seven companies providing business advisory and financial services that will serve micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), including single mothers and fisherfolk.
U.S. Chargé d’Affaires a.i. to Haiti Nicole Theriot commented, “Small businesses in Haiti work in a challenging environment and face multiple barriers that impede their growth. Through programs like USAID’s ATTEINDRE project, the U.S. government is working to increase opportunities for Haitian entrepreneurs and help them overcome those obstacles, so they can grow their businesses and create more jobs for a secure and sustainable future.”
With USAID support, ATTEINDRE is awarding grants to leading Haitian business service providers, including STRATÈGE, Agence d’Investissement et de Développement d’Entreprises (AIDE), Centre d’Entrepreneurship et de Leadership en Haïti (CEDEL), and Centre de Formation et d’Encadrement Technique (CFET). The grants will provide qualifying MSMEs with technical assistance and training to help them expand their operations, access credit, and increase their revenues.
For example, STRATÈGE will support 2,500 MSMEs in the manioc value chain across the North, North-East, and Central departments with training on modern production techniques, as well as helping 120 MSMEs access short-term financing from local village savings and loan associations. STRATÈGE also aims to help existing informal manioc producer associations, encompassing 600 manioc producers, processors, packagers, service providers, and distributors, complete their legal registration and reinforce their capacity and governance structures. Becoming legal associations will enable them to receive bulk agricultural loans from financial institutions and then retail the loans to their members or apply for grants for agricultural projects as a single entity.
In the communes of Limonade, Caracol, Ferrier, and Perches, AIDE will offer a seven-month training program to 200 MSMEs, empowering them to create new jobs in their communities with a focus on women and youth. AIDE Executive Director Herrick Dessources explains: “Organizations cannot generate enough employment alone, and we need the private sector. Through the ATTEINDRE grant, we can reinforce businesses. This helps generate household income that improves lives and offers access to education, health, housing, and more.”
With grants from the ATTEINDRE project, CEDEL and CFET will expand their services to the central plateau, offer training and coaching, as well as help formalize MSMEs in the region. CEDEL will enlarge an existing program directed at 400 youth across Mirebalais, Hinche, Lascahobas, and Maïssade. Applications for the CEDEL program are available through a wide range of partners such as the Chamber of Commerce, universities, and various women/youth/religious groups. Prospective applicants can also stay tuned for announcements via the CEDEL Haiti Facebook page: (https://web.facebook.com/cedelhaiti).
To foster economic inclusivity in Haiti, the ATTEINDRE project is supporting Sonje Ayiti Organization (SOA), a women’s association that will provide workforce development services for 500 single mothers between the ages of 18 and 35, with at least one child in school. Training will focus on leadership, personal development, food production and processing, and other management tools that will enable women in the SOA network to grow their businesses.
USAID’s ATTEINDRE project will also help Action pour la Coopération avec la Micro Entreprise (ACME) and Konsèy Nasyonal Finansman Popilè (KNFP), both well-known micro finance institutions, to expand access to credit for MSMEs. The ATTEINDRE project will help ACME expand its new solar energy credit product to 700 rural clients in the North, South, and Central departments. KNFP will develop a credit union in Les Anglais and connect it to the village savings and loans associations of Chardonnières. Fusing together livelihoods with environmental awareness, KNFP will partner with the Haitian Ocean Project to train and certify fisherfolk on sustainable fishing practices that protect both their livelihood and the ocean.
USAID Haiti Acting Mission Director Christine Djondo noted, “Supporting local businesses is a key part of USAID’s worldwide strategy of helping partner countries drive their own economic growth. We are very excited that MSMEs in the North, Central, and South departments will now receive the essential services, training, and credit they need, through USAID support, to grow and create jobs.”