Haiti’s Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are essential to the country’s economic development.

However, they have difficulty accessing financing, limiting their ability to grow.


LEAD aims to facilitate the mobilization of investment capital from the diaspora and other sources and to increase the impact of that investment in SMEs and community-based social enterprises.

Haiti’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are essential to the country’s economic development. SMEs, however, have difficulty accessing financing, limiting their ability to grow. In addition, Haiti’s development de-pends on effective social enterprises, which also struggle for funding. To facilitate access to capital LEAD provides matching grants to leverage investment in both SMEs and social enterprises. 

In addition to matching grants, LEAD provides technical assistance through local business service providers to support business plans development and enterprise management, so that target enterprises can attract capital, grow, create jobs, and generate income. LEAD also works to build the capacity of key stakeholders and intermediaries, such as government agencies, business associations, business service providers and social enterprise funds. In addition, LEAD works with the Haitian Diaspora in the United States and elsewhere to encourage participation in both its match-ing grant programs to increase the development impact of remittances and other investment flows to Haiti. 

LEAD operates in the 3 USG priority corridors: Cap‐Haïtien, Saint‐Marc, and Port‐au‐Prince. The project targets industries and businesses with the greatest potential to create jobs, including construction, tourism, agribusiness, and alternative energy. The project also focuses on job creation for women and those with disabilities. 

Objectives

LEAD aims to attract investment in Haitian commercial enterprises, particularly those with potential for growth, income generation, and job creation, as well as to increase the development impact of remittances invested in community-level social enterprises. 

Activities

  • Manage business plan competitions that award matching grants to leverage investment in commercial enterprises
  • Provide matching grants to facilitate investment in social enterprises at the community level 
  • Support training and business development services through local business service providers 
  • Provide information to the Haitian Diaspora/other capital providers to support investment in Haitian commercial and social enterprises 
  • Build capacity of stakeholder and intermediary institutions, including business associations, government agencies, business service providers, and financial institutions to provide support to SMEs, social enterprises and overseas providers of capital on a sustainable basis. 

PADF has been implementing the LEAD project since July 2011, funded by a USAID grant totaling USD $16.97 million. The project will run through September, 2017.

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Haiti is Open for Business:

Investing in Small and Medium Enterprises, Creating Jobs

Leveraging Effective Application of Direct Investment (LEAD)
Value: $16.97 million | Donor: USAID 

Haiti’s private sector is an essential contributor to the country’s long-term economic development and vitality. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have the potential to create thousands of new jobs. However, SMEs have difficulties accessing financing, and are thus limited in their ability to grow. LEAD strengthens the capacity of SMEs to engage in best business practices; attracts foreign and diaspora investments; grows businesses; creates jobs; and generates income.

To date, LEAD has accomplished the following: 

  • Attracted over 400 submissions to our business plan competition; 
  • Awarded $7.39 million for 46 grants to SMEs, grants in St Marc, Cap Haitien and Port-au-Prince Development Corridors. The grant recipients work in the areas of agriculture, manufacturing, technology, alternative energy, recycling, hotel, sewing and tourism; 
  • Each grant is matched in cash by the SME seeking investment; total business value is over $11.5 million; 
  • Mobilized $8 million in investment capital from the Haitian private sector and other sources in order to increase the impact of that investment in SMEs and community-based social enterprises; 
  • Enterprises generated over $27 million in sales;
  • Created jobs for an additional 13,695 people, about one-third of whom are women; 
  • Jointly invested in 7 community development projects supported by diaspora. Proceeds from sales at these organizations assure the sustainability of these projects; 
  • Provided technical assistance to support business plan development and enterprise management, so that target enterprises can attract capital and grow; 
  • Enhanced capacity of three key stakeholders and intermediaries to support employment and economic growth in Haiti. 

The centerpiece of LEAD is a business plan competition in which SMEs put forward their business ideas and make the business case for investment. The plans are vetted independently. LEAD works with the Haitian diaspora to use a portion of remittances to further the development impact of these resources at the local level.

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