Nonprofit Partner Post

The Haitian Entrepreneur: Micro-Enterprise

Mural of hands holding a green Earth with a heart in it.


We tend to view the world through the filter of our own prism. Oftentimes, people in developed nations tend to look at their own work and sometimes forget there are experts in developing nations working to make a difference for themselves and others in their local communities.


After the major earthquake in Haiti the country was left devastated. People lost their homes and businesses. In fact, Haiti is still a country going through an incredible recovery period.


Unfortunately, some people wait continue to wait for help, but there are others who are looking to help themselves. One such person is a woman that will be named Maria for the purpose of this article. She was left devastated in the aftermath of the earthquake, but she is someone who is resourceful, which is an absolute necessity in today’s day and age for anyone no matter where they live.


Slowly, she was offered the opportunity to buy shoes at a significantly discounted rate provided to people in developing nations and who are looking to work in micro-enterprise businesses. Shoes are something that everyone needs for health reasons, including hygiene. In addition, they are an absolute necessity in order for a child to go to school and for someone to be employed.


In the years since the massive earthquake that leveled so many parts of Haiti, Maria has been working very diligently in order to grow her business. Her dream has been to be able to send her son to college and to one day become a distributor.


This year, she recently visited me and has now become a distributor. She has sold thousands of dollars worth of shoes and is now in the process of mentoring and working with others in her home country to help them get started in their own micro-enterprise. And more importantly for Maria, her son graduated from high school and is looking to continue his education.


What made Maria different? What made her able to succeed and move forward from tragedy where so many others had failed?


Maria has a few attributes that are essential for any entrepreneur:


  1. Perseverance – she made it a goal right at the outset to not quit or give up. She took failures that happened along the way and kept on working toward her goal.


  1. Vision – Maria has had a vision of where she wanted to be and it was not in one of the tent cities that were erected after the earthquake. And, once she started to see traction she continued to grow her vision and where she wanted to go. This also includes those she wants to work with selling shoes.


  1. Passion – everything Maria does, she does for her son. Her son is her passion and it translates to her passion in her business. She has managed to couple her personal and business interests.


Entrepreneurs in developing and developed nations need the same attributes for success.


Wayne ElseyAbout the Author:

Wayne Elsey is the Founder and CEO of Wayne Elsey Enterprises (WEE), a company that works with social enterprise organizations, nonprofits and companies on strategy, branding, development and education via the following four subsidiary portfolio brands:
·         str@tegic - focusing on leadership and business strategy
·         Funds2Orgs - a social enterprise that enables individuals, companies and organizations raise funds while helping to support micro-enterprise opportunities in developing nations
·         501C3U - an online university for non-profit education
·         Not Your Father’s Charity (NYFC) - which is a forum that enables social entrepreneurs, philanthropists, non-profits, the media and general public to learn how to succeed in 21st Century social enterprise.