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I have been an elementary and secondary school teacher and administrator. Currently, I am a faculty member in the Faculty of Education at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. My M.Ed. and Ph.D. had a focus on the educational and linguistic experiences of children who moved from other countries to Canada.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Supporting entrepreneurs through social networks in Cap-Haitien, Haiti

I have always been impressed with the entrepreneurial spirit in Haiti.

Some of the people I've worked with would be considered social entrepreneurs: They have developed an enterprise to respond to a social need. I have published a number of "case studies" that have examined some of the innovative approaches these social entrepreneurs have taken.

I've also worked with those who we might consider more traditional entrepreneurs (an oxymoron?). These are individuals who are not necessarily trying to build a social venture (although their work often has a social benefit) but who are trying to develop an innovative business for financial benefit.

Two young men that we've worked with in Haiti are building a business to support tourists and business people come to Cap-Haitien. They have recognized a need (navigating the local area ... finding hotels, accessing historic sites, translating, etc) and are developing a plan to meet that need. I am excited that their first client is arriving this week. That client was connected to them through a social network, another entrepreneurial way to tap into potential customers.

These are powerful opportunities for young Haitian entrepreneurs. I am anticipating the growth of these types of "micro-businesses" and believe that they will fuel a growing middle class in Haiti.

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