What is your wish for Haiti?


May 31, 2011

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    Denise Rocks/Mercy Corps  </span>
    Valery Fils-Aimé. Photo: Denise Rocks/Mercy Corps

This is not the type of question you hear very often here. Everyone talks about what Haiti needs: shelter, infrastructure, healthcare. But it is rare to ask Haitians what they wish for their country.

At a recent Social Business workshop, hosted by YY Haiti in association with Grameen Creative Labs, all barriers were broken down. Entrepreneurs, business students and non-governmental organization (NGO) staff from Haiti and abroad came together to answer this question — as well as to discover how social business can answer some of Haiti’s wishes as well as its needs.

Meet Valery Fils-Aimé, a dynamic young man who works with emerging entrepreneurs across the country. Passionate and eloquent, Valery argued for a new more inclusive Haiti, and his vision for entrepreneurs to be the leaders of tomorrow. Amongst his wishes for the country were improved access to credit, sustainable recycling businesses so he can walk down clean streets, and the transformation of Haiti’s neglected historic monuments into tourist attractions.

"Haiti is one of the most historic areas in the region," advised Fils-Aimé. One of his dreams would be to transform the neglected Fort St. Michel — located in the north of the country — into a social business, attracting tourists, benefitting the community and preserving some of Haiti’s proud past.

Mercy Corps has high hopes for working with entrepreneurs like Valery through the launch of its innovative MicroMentor program, a web-based platform with its own unique philosophy: "Find a mentor. Be a mentor. Build a business." By connecting Haitian entrepreneurs with mentors from within Haiti and around the world, those with the vision and will to succeed can do so with the expertise and support of the global business community behind them.

To get involved with MicroMentor, or for more information visit www.micromentor.org/haiti.