Helping Haitian entrepreneurs

A new awards programme is aiming to
help Haiti one entrepreneur at a time.

The initiative was launched by
Digicel in association with the Clinton Global Initiative. It seeks to
identify, reward and cultivate entrepreneurs whose business initiative can give
Haiti new economic foundations.

“Recognising entrepreneurial spirit
through acclaiming successes is a key driver in building an enterprise
economy,” said Digicel Group Chairman Denis O’Brien.

“That’s why we have created The
Digicel Entrepreneur of the Year Awards Programme, with a fitting theme Ignite
the Spirit of Enterprise; and the vision it embraces is nothing less than a thoroughly
regenerated, newly modernised, enterprise-driven Haiti.” 

Nominations are now invited from
across six categories: Tourism and Culture, The Environment, Food and
Agriculture, Industry, Services and Emerging Entrepreneurs. A nominee must be
the founder/owner of the business and have a full, active interest in the
company. Entrepreneurs can be nominated by anyone, including themselves.

A judging panel of eight, chaired
by Mr. O’Brien, will evaluate nominations on criteria including the company’s
strategic direction, record of innovation, financial performance, and community

A shortlist of nominees will be
selected in each of four regions across Haiti and finals will take place in
each. A total of 24 will emerge as national finalists to become part of a
celebration journey and will take centre stage in the National Final in
December. One national winner will be announced in each category, and from
these, one will be crowned the 2010 Digicel Entrepreneur of the Year.

“There could be no more fitting or
dramatic setting for the final of the Digicel Entrepreneur of the Year awards
in December, than the iconic Marché de Fer or Iron Market in Port-au-Prince
which was built in 1889 as a symbol of Haiti’s traditional trading prowess,”
said Mr. O’Brien.

“Its phoenix-like renewal will
represent a promise to the people of Haiti that good things can come out of
appalling adversity – fostered by a powerful coalition of local spirit and
international goodwill.”

The programme’s aim is for
entrepreneurs work together for the first time in a manner that allows them to
benefit from shared learning experiences, to focus on scalability, and to look
outside Haiti to the international marketplace for future growth.

The 24 finalists will be given the
opportunity to engage in a three-day Executive Education Programme at Florida
International University in Miami. This CEO Retreat will deliver training in
leadership, innovation and strategy.

The Digicel Entrepreneur of the
Year is sponsored by AIC Insurance, Sogebank, Coles Group and The Soros
Foundation, it is supported by The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Haiti, The
Centre for Free Enterprise and Democracy, Le Nouvelliste and Le Matin.

Nominations for the Digicel
Entrepreneur of the Year Programme must be submitted using the official
nomination form or via by Friday, 11 June.