Port-au-Prince, Haiti – President Bill Clinton and philanthropists Frank Giustra and Carlos Slim, accompanied by Haiti’s Prime Minister Jean Max Bellerive, have announced the creation of an innovative new $20 million fund for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Haiti. This is a project of the Clinton Foundation, through the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative, and Fundación Carlos Slim. This new fund was established in response to a call from President Préval and Prime Minister Bellerive for more tools to help Haitian entrepreneurs make sustainable improvements in their businesses and communities, and create more jobs.
“The fund we are announcing today recognizes the important role small- and medium-sized enterprises play in helping to build a modern, self-sustainable economy that will allow Haiti to one day stand on its own two feet,” President Clinton said. “With this fund, we hope to empower entrepreneurs with the tools to transform their aspirations, hard work, and good ideas into profitable businesses that create jobs and help fuel the growth of the Haitian economy.”
“We’re pleased and excited to be working alongside the people of Haiti as they rebuild their country,” said Giustra. “By aligning the fund alongside local needs and priorities, we’re giving Haiti’s entrepreneurs the tools and resources they need to put their talent and determination to work in the months and years ahead. We’ve seen a real spirit of optimism here and it’s definitely contagious.”
“Employment is the way to fight poverty and dignify a human being,” said Carlos Slim. “Small- and medium-sized enterprises generate greater and more diverse employment opportunities, economic activity and human and business development. Investing in equity and giving access to credit increases businesses’ viability, makes companies more efficient, and accelerates growth.”
This charitable Fund will provide equity and financing for SMEs in Haiti that currently lack access to traditional financing and capital markets, with a particular focus on job creation. The Fund will be market-driven and will seek financial returns on its investments, as well as returns on the Fund as a whole, and profits will be re-invested in the Fund to enable additional future investments. Neither President Clinton, the Clinton Foundation, nor Fundación Carlos Slim will derive profits from the Fund. The Fund and its investments will be aligned with the Haitian government’s priorities, institutions, and processes, including the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC) and its procedures. The Fund will seek to collaborate with local institutions and provide technical assistance to the businesses in which it invests. The Fund will also welcome additional investors.
This announcement builds on President Clinton’s long-standing efforts to help Haitian businesses grow. In October 2009, President Clinton, at the request of the Haitian Government and along with the IDB, convened a private sector conference. More than 600 potential investors attended.
The Fund will be managed by a Management Committee and led by a Fund Manager.
About the William J. Clinton Foundation
Founded by President Bill Clinton, the William J. Clinton Foundation focuses on worldwide issues that demand urgent action, solutions, and measurable results -- global climate change, HIV/AIDS in the developing world, childhood obesity and economic opportunity in the United States, and economic development in Africa and Latin America. For more information, visit www.clintonfoundation.org.
About the Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative
Established in June 2007 by President Bill Clinton and philanthropist Frank Giustra, CGSGI is an innovative partnership between the Clinton Foundation, the private sector, governments, local communities, and other NGOs that seeks to narrow the wealth gap in the developing world by empowering the poor through effective, results-oriented economic and social development projects. CGSGI focuses on alleviating poverty in the developing world through market-driven development that creates jobs and increases incomes, and by strengthening factors that enable economic growth such as health and education.
About Fundación Carlos Slim
For the past 24 years the Foundation’s objective has been to realize high social impact actions, mainly in the following areas: nutrition, health, education, culture, research, social justice, environment, natural disasters, sports, urban slum upgrading and urban renewal, credit and financial support to micro, small and medium size enterprises. www.carlosslim.org