“Instead of just giving participants concepts, Business Edge makes sure that when they leave there is a change in attitude, a willingness to try something new.” Jean-Robert Lebrun, trainer, Haiti
Maximizing SMEs' Potential with Business Edge, Haiti
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are vital to Haiti’s economy. They account for more than 80 percent of total employment, but often their growth is constrained because entrepreneurs and managers lack the skills to improve their performance and profits.
Affordable management training was almost nonexistent in Haiti until IFC rolled out the Business Edge program in February 2009 to fill a gap for local SMEs. Business Edge is an interactive training program which uses local trainers to deliver high-quality workshops in five target areas:
Finance and accounting
Operations and management
The program was first launched in Vietnam in 2001. Since then it has been implemented in 12 other countries around the world - from Afghanistan and Cambodia to Jordan and Pakistan – with over 113,000 participants.
Partnering with SOFIHDES, a Haitian financial development company, IFC adapted Business Edge to Haiti’s commercial environment, using case studies that fit the local market.
“By offering a program like Business Edge we directly impact the managerial capacity of small and medium entrepreneurs in developing countries,” said Elvira Van Daele, Operations Officer for Advisory Services in Latin America and the Caribbean. “These entrepreneurs are key to the growth of any economy. We try to make them think about how they do business and how they can better manage and maximize their companies’ potential. Instead of just doing business we help SMEs improve their business.”
IFC’s strategy in Haiti focuses on promoting economic growth and improving access to basic services, particularly for the most vulnerable communities. IFC is committed to supporting the private sector to help create job opportunities to improve the local economy. Business Edge training sessions are tailored to owners and managers of small companies as well as mid-level managers in mid-sized firms.
So far, the program has held 25 training workshops with 250 participants between May and November 2009. The goal is to train 1,500 owners and managers in the next two years. About 70 percent of participants say the training helps them improve their companies’ operations.
“Instead of just giving participants concepts, Business Edge makes sure that when they leave there is a change in attitude, a willingness to try something new,” said Jean-Robert Lebrun, a Haitian certified Business Edge trainer with over 20 years of training experience. “I see a transformation when they leave. They take more ownership over their work and learn how to manage a team more effectively.”