On November 17, a ceremonial launch was held for the first Entrepreneur Financial Centre (EFC) to be set up in Haiti by DID and the LE LEVIER federation of Haitian financial cooperatives. Located in Cap-Haïtien in Haiti’s North, this specialized financial centre, directly owned by six financial cooperatives in the Grand Nord region of Haiti, opened its doors and began operations on October 9.
The institution has a team of 10 staff members who will focus their efforts on meeting the needs of entrepreneurs in the Grand Nord region. Their activities are aimed at the members of the six participating financial cooperatives and are conducted with their close collaboration in order to provide specialized services adapted to the areas of business of the more than 400 entrepreneur members in the financial cooperatives.
Adding to EFC employees, the thirty guests in attendance at the EFC ceremony included Carlos Rojas Arbùlù, Chief of Canadian Cooperation in Haiti, Irma Frednel, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) representative, Jean Boisvert and Suzie Mondésir from DID, Georges-Marie Laguerre and Jocelyn St-Jean, respectively Chair and Director General of the LE LEVIER federation, as well as various officers from EFC-affiliated cooperatives.
“The EFC is intended to support coop members operating micro and small businesses by providing them with high-quality specialized financial services, while supporting their development and job creation in their community,” explained François Hamel, senior advisor for PANSEH and Grand Nord EFC interim director.
As outlined by Suzie Mondésir, director of the PANSEH program, “this new EFC is largely inspired by the model that was set up in Canada by the Desjardins Group in order to better serve its business members.”
"Though it is based on the Canadian model, the Grand Nord EFC is adapted to the Haitian reality," continued Jocelyn Saint-Jean, Director General of the LE LEVIER federation. "This initiative is a success and demonstrates the very good collaboration between LE LEVIER and DID – PANSEH," concluded Carlos Rojas Arbùlù, Chief of Canadian Cooperation in Haiti.
Another step forward for PANSEH
This initiative is part of the National Support for Haitian Entrepreneurship program (PANSEH) being implemented by DID with financial support from Global Affairs Canada. The program, which is national in scope, is aimed at helping micro, small and medium enterprises gain better access to financial services by upgrading professionalism in the participating financial cooperatives and setting up an EFC within the Le Levier federation of financial cooperatives.
PANSEH also has the goal of providing non-financial technical advice delivered by accredited Haitian consultants who are supported by Canadian experts and the goal of supporting the Haitian Government in establishing incentives and guidelines to stimulate entrepreneurship.