Haiti’s private sector is an essential contributor to the country’s long-term economic development and vitality. The Haitian economy continues to be primarily driven by small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which have the potential to be strong engines of economic growth and create thousands of new jobs. However, SMEs have difficulties accessing financing, and are thus limited in their ability to grow. To address this challenge, USAID’s Leveraging Effective Application of Direct Investments project (LEAD) aims to attract investments in Haitian SMEs and increase the development impact of remittances.
LEAD is designed to strengthen the capacity of SMEs to engage in best business practices, attract foreign and diaspora investments, grow businesses, create jobs, and generate income. LEAD will use a grant-matching mechanism to leverage private investments in Haitian SMEs identified through business plan competitions, and will collaborate with the Haitian diaspora community to channel remittances to viable social enterprises and community projects, increasing their internal sustainability and external impact.
In addition, LEAD will work with the Haitian diaspora in the United States and elsewhere to engage them in targeted philanthropic activities, social businesses, and innovative ways to use a portion of remittances to further the development impact of these resources.
LEAD will operate in the three U.S. Government development corridors: Cap-Haïtien, Saint-Marc, and Port-au-Prince. The project will target industries and businesses with the greatest potential for job creation, including construction, tourism, agribusiness, and alternative energy. The project emphasizes job creation and entrepreneurship for women, including women with disabilities.
LEAD aims to attract investments in Haitian enterprises with demonstrable po-tential for growth, income generation, and job creation, as well as increase the impact of remittances in development by leveraging support among the Haitian diaspora for community projects.
- Supporting annual business plan competitions.
- Providing training and business development services.
- Matching with Haitian diaspora and other investors.
- Providing technical and financial assistance.
- Promoting public awareness and investment.
As of September 2014, LEAD has achieved the following results:
- 272 applications have been processed;
- 60 businesses have received technical assistance;
- 21 businesses received matching grants to expand their businesses;
- $7 million of private funds have been leveraged;
- Two social enterprises received matching funds to advance their social objective; and
- 9,225 jobs have been created.
Over the life of the project, LEAD aims to:
- Provide matching grants from $50,000 to $200,000 to 40 small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs);
- Provide business development services and training to 120 SMEs; and
- Encourage diaspora participation in productive investments through financing of social businesses and local enterprises.
Budget: $13.2 million
Life of Project: July 2011 — July 2015
Implementing Partner: Pan American Development Foundation (PADF)
Last updated: January 26, 2015