Deutsche Bank commits one million US dollar to develop social businesses in Haiti
Post-disaster relief and rebuilding efforts have helped Haiti regain economic growth, but the business sector still lacks available access to credit and investment capital. The Yunus Social Business Fund, supported by Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation, steps in to provide growth capital crucial to long-term recovery and sustainable development.
Already the poorest country in the Americas, Haiti was devastated by the 2010 earthquake, which destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure. Despite a cholera outbreak and prevailing poverty, Haitians are committed to improving the situation of their economy. The Yunus Social Business (YSB) Haiti Initiative supports this ambition by helping to develop local private enterprises with social missions by offering advisory services and incubator funds. As part of Deutsche Bank’s 5.8 million US dollar package in grants and low-interest loans for post-disaster relief in Haiti, Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation has pledged one million US dollar in investments to the initiative, which was established by Nobel Prize Laureate and founder of the microfinance institution Grameen Bank Muhammad Yunus. “Through this investment, we hope to not only assist with Haiti’s long-term economic recovery and growth, but to also demonstrate that social business can be a sustainable and profitable sector in the Haitian economy,” says Gary Hattem, President of the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation and Managing Director of the Community Development Finance Group.
Through the Bank’s support, YSB will provide investments ranging from $50,000 to $100,000 to small- and medium-sized businesses in three areas: nutrition, education and vocational training, and agriculture and environment.
Supporting professional training and sustainable development locally
One of the beneficiaries of YSB Haiti is Etre Ayisyen, a vocational training center that provides professional development training on financial literacy, business development and planning in Port-au-Prince. In one of its projects, the center delivered training to 80 young entrepreneurs, inlcuding access international aptitude tests to and personal advice and training from a professional corporate trainer. In addition, Etre Ayisyen also organized Nou tout ka fè l’, a day for established entrepreneurs, young start-ups and representatives of educational institutes to meet, present their ideas and network. These projects aim to provide young Haitians with innovative business ideas with market access.
Other examples of social enterprises supported by YSB Haiti with the help of Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation include a farm to grow japtropha, an environmentally friendly source of energy and protein, as well as a bakery that will subsidize for a local school through its profits.
“Haiti holds tremendous opportunity for successful business to take root that can benefit families with new sources of income as well as create jobs for the unemployed. There is particular growth potential for social businesses, non-dividend companies created to solve social problems. I’m delighted to announce Deutsche Bank has come forward as an early investor in our new Social Business Fund.”
of cholera since the outbreak of the epidemic in 2010. Deutsche Bank has recently hosted a fundraising event for the first permanent cholera treatment center in Haiti, built by MASS Design Group and Centre GHESKIO. The center will provide primary healthcare facilities as well as a pioneering wastewater purification system. Among the guest speakers at the fundraising event was Chelsea Clinton, Vice President of the Clinton Foundation.