About the Symposium

Danielle Saint-Lot Haiti Women’s Foundation & National Alliance for the Advancement of Haitian Professionals (NAAHP)

THEME: Catherine Flon Symposium: Cultivating Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment

DATE: May 18th, 2016, New York City
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Haitian women are the pillars “poto mitan!” of the Haitian society, however, although this is widely believed and accepted as fact, based on economic analysis, one can conclude that Haitian women’s roles as entrepreneurs is greatly under recognized. Women generate income, provide employment and improve their own conditions as well as that of their families, communities and countries. While recognized for their strong pre­sence in the informal economy and the poor population, no value/importance is placed on Haitian women’s economic activities as a strategy for economic development. Haitian women continue to be driven by the desire to over­come their conditions and set out to fulfil this desire by establishing businesses primarily in the agri­cultural sector and in trade.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, there are about 8 to 10 million formal Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with at least one woman owner in developing countries1.   Women make significant contributions to household incomes and to economic growth.   Women’s economic participation has become a benchmark for economic progress in developing countries; and Haiti’s private sector is the key to unlocking the country’s economic potential as well as driving economic growth.

First Panel: Bridging the Gap- How to Fill the Missing Middle

Since economic growth worldwide is driven by the development of SMEs, The Danielle Saint-Lot Haiti Women’s Foundation (DSLF) seeks to bridge the gap to fill the ‘missing middle’ and grow the creative economy by empowering Haitian women, whether in Haiti or abroad, through the promotion of social entrepreneurship, leadership, social skills and professional development.

The New York State Assembly passed several pieces of legislations during the 2015 Legislative Session. The intent was to promote minority and women-owned businesses, as well as other small businesses, and assist these businesses to grow and thrive. How can Haitian American women entrepreneurs or professionals seize these opportunities to create businesses in the US and/or partner with Haitian women entrepreneurs in their homeland?

Second Panel: Innovation, Entrepreneurship and How to Contribute and Help Promote Women’s Economic Empowerment

We tend to think of entrepreneurship as a one way street, the innovative way of developing and managing a start-up, whereas there are many facets to entrepreneurship. A lawyer who has his/her own practice or a doctor who operates his/her own clinic is an entrepreneur. An employee who develops a new and innovative management plan within his/her company is also an entrepreneur.

During this section of the symposium, we seek to engage in a conversation that discusses the various challenges faced by women entrepreneurs. These include the issue of why, whether in the US, Canada or Haiti, there are fewer women owned businesses than those of their male counterparts, and what we, as individuals, can do, through the various avenues that exist, to contribute and promote Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment for women.


About the Danielle Saint-Lot Haiti Women’s Foundation (DSLF):

The Danielle Saint-Lot Haiti Women’s Foundation, a U.S. based non-profit, advances programs to empower Haitian women through the promotion of social entrepreneurship, leadership skills, and professional development. The foundation’s activities include trainings, forums, networking, coaching, and mentoring. Among the topics explored are gender equality and conflict resolution to advocate for greater equal social and economic rights for women. The goal is to give women the necessary tools to help them improve the quality of life of their families and communities. The Foundation’s initiatives are implemented in Haiti. For more information visit the foundation’s website at www.haitiwomensfoundation.org/foundation/

About the National Alliance for the Advancement of Haitian Professionals (NAAHP):

Founded in 2011, the National Alliance for the Advancement of Haitian Professionals (NAAHP) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization established by a diverse group of forward-thinking industry experts, youth leaders, faculty, public and nonprofit sector professionals from Haiti and its global diaspora. NAAHP is focused on connecting a global community of peers with career advancement resources, as well as, fostering transformative relationships between NAAHP members and committed stakeholders to rebuild Haiti through philanthropy and social entrepreneurship. For more information about NAAHP visit it’s website at www.naahpusa.org.


1: US Department of Commerce (2010) “Women-Owned Businesses in the 21st Century”, prepared by the US Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration for the White House Council on Women and Girls