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Opportunities for Caribbean and Caribbean-American owned businesses

In marking the first year celebrating Caribbean-American Heritage Month in the United States, the IDB has hosted a number of events, the centerpiece of which was the Business Seminar Series special briefing targeting the Caribbean American business community—Caribbean and Caribbean-American Business Opportunities—held recently at Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C.

With around 175 attendees, the seminar provided a forum to discuss opportunities for Caribbean and Caribbean-American businesses and consultants at the local, federal and international level.

IDB Executive Director for the Caribbean constituency Jerry Butler noted in his welcoming remarks that the forum was “another tangible example of the Bank’s keen interest in showcasing the potential of Caribbean entrepreneurs and exposing them to the overlooked business opportunities with international organizations and state and local government agencies.“

Two panels of experts were present at the event. An external panel from local and U.S. federal government and international organizations discussed how to access U.S. agencies for procurement and consulting opportunities at the local, state and federal levels, while the internal panel discussed potential business opportunities with the IDB.

Businessman Dumas Siméus, a recent former presidential candidate in his native Haiti, as well as a well-known entrepreneur, global executive and philanthropist, was the keynote speaker at the event. As chairman and founder of Siméus Foods International, Inc., Siméus heads the largest black-owned food processing company in the United States, with revenues exceeding $100 million.

In describing his company, Siméus discussed the challenges he overcame as a young man from an impoverished village in Haiti, who seized the opportunity to educate himself in the United States and realize the American dream of creating a large and successful business.

Siméus also relayed his management philosophy and the fundamentals of developing a successful business, stressing the importance of reliability, adhering to deadlines and being prompt and courteous.

In recognition of his extensive business skills, Haitian President René Préval has asked Siméus to help Haiti in the areas of foreign investment and economic development.

In closing, Mr. Butler said that he looks forward to this program becoming a regular part of the IDB Business Seminar Series.

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