Helping Haitian Entrepreneurs find the recipe for success

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In Haiti, small-business owner Isabelle Laguerre Mevs has found the recipe for success. Her company turns local produce into condiments that are in demand across the island. Today, the pepper sauce, honey, vinegar, and green seasoning sauce are now on local supermarket shelves and in a number of Haitian restaurants and hotels. Since 2013, Stars Industries S.A. (SISA) has been growing into a fruitful agro-processing enterprise. One year after opening, the demand for the company' pepper sauce product was increasing. SISA needed technical guidance and support. To grow the company sustainably, the company required a marketing plan; research data to better understand the Haitian pepper sauce market; and a technical plan. SISA also needed to improve its production capacity and invest in more equipment to fulfil growing orders. Meeting Market Demands Isabelle applied to the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) for assistance to better navigate the path to growing SISA. The Bank' Technical Cooperation Division facilitated Isabelle' access to experts with business and technical experience. This was done through the Caribbean Technological Consultancy Services (CTCS) Network, the Division' programme dedicated to the development of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. Isabelle Laguerre Mevs has found the recipe for success. “We wanted to make decisions on facts and verified numbers before engaging in our project," said Isabelle. “It is a challenge to find information on the market and products in Haiti. The information is not available, making market research expensive and out of reach to small and medium enterprises," she said. Data to Drive Better Business Decisions With the help of a consultant provided through CTCS, Isabelle gained access to market data and intelligence to help her make more informed business decisions. This included the company' market value; the structure of the Haitian market; and consumers' preferences for pepper sauce products. Isabelle says that the research helped her improve the way she was marketing, pricing and manufacturing SISA' pepper sauce. “We took the decision of developing a new formula for a pepper sauce that would be sold to mass market. The sauce we produced is actually destined for a higher-end market and [should be] more expensive," said Isabelle. The research has improved how Isabelle sources purified water, a key ingredient in SISA' manufacturing. Now the company has its own filtration system, and no longer has to buy water. The system was funded through a subvention from the Caribbean Export Development Agency; SISA supported that application with the new data it had gained. The research results also prompted Isabelle to negotiate with farmers for more reliable access to peppers. Currently, she is finalising a deal with a supplier. Isabelle says that the research helped her improve the way she was marketing, pricing and manufacturing SISA' pepper sauce. With SISA' market data, Isabelle can now confidently explore other funding opportunities. Early in 2016, SISA won a business plan competition through LEAD. LEAD, Leveraging Effective Application of Direct Investments, provides capital to small- and medium-sized Haitian businesses with potential for growth, income generation and job creation. With the LEAD award, SISA will buy equipment to manufacture pepper sauce for a mass market‚Äîa recommendation from the company' CDB-funded technical plan. The new machinery could see SISA, which employs seven women and six men, growing even more. “I want to thank CDB for its support. We appreciate the technical assistance. We are excited and motivated in entering a new journey in our business," said Isabelle. Learn more about CTCS Lire en fran√ßais

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