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Innovative business networking site ConnectAmericas.com launches in Haiti to help entrepreneurs scale up and go international

The Inter-American Development Bank, the Center for the Facilitation of Investments (CFI) and DHL presented the site to more than 200 Haitian entrepreneurs

More than 200 Haitian small and medium-size entrepreneurs interested in expanding their businesses internationally participated July 1 in the launch of ConnectAmericas.com, the first social network for businesses in the Americas. The launch, which took place in Port-au-Prince, was organized by the Haitian government’s Center for the Facilitation of Investments (CFI) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which created ConnectAmericas with the support of strategic partners Google, DHL, VISA and Alibaba.com.

With more than 30,000 participating members from 70 countries who registered in the first year, the online platform allows businesses to connect directly with potential suppliers, customers, partners and investors in the region and around the world; access tools and practical information on international trade; and learn about financing opportunities available to Small and Medium size Enterprises (SMEs). The site is easily accessible and completely free.

The entrepreneurs were joined at the event by representatives of the Haitian Government and the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA), who recognized ConnectAmericas as a useful tool to create new opportunities for SMEs that are already exporting and to provide tools and training to entrepreneurs who want to start exporting.

"Haiti is a country that offers many opportunities, especially in the sectors of light manufacturing, textile, agriculture, tourism and business process outsourcing,” said Ana Arias, Integration and Trade Sector Specialist at the IDB. “Through ConnectAmericas, foreign investors can find local trusted partners, and Haitian entrepreneurs enjoy direct access to large international buyers."

At the event, Haitian entrepreneurs who already have managed to take their business international described how they did it with the help of ConnectAmericas. Representatives from the IDB, CFI and DHL organized training workshops to show entrepreneurs how to make the most of ConnectAmericas’ tools and how to take advantage of digital marketing and new trends in the logistics sector for SMEs.