Young Innovators in Haiti: an Inspiration to Entrepreneurs Everywhere
Daphné Floréal, a jewelry designer who created her business, Bijou Lakay, 10 years ago, holds a deep affection for her country:
“Haiti is like a diamond. So long as you have not worked with it, you have not uncovered its beauty.”
When asked if she considered moving abroad, she confided “I have had some interesting proposals to work in high-level positions outside Haiti but I am emotionally and sentimentally attached to Haiti”.
“Sometimes, things can be very discouraging here and you may be tempted to think that you should have embraced an opportunity to migrate abroad. But no, after all, I decided to stay here.”
With her business, Daphnée employs artisans and craftsmen who had to get used to her somewhat unusual sense of creativity and asymmetry. Making the most of what Haiti offers, she uses mainly wood and beef horns in her creations.
“The craftsmen are people who have been working for years with this sort of material. But I am a very abstract person, I am very asymmetrical too in my creations, which is quite unusual for most craftsmen here in Haiti.”
The World Bank estimates Haiti to be among the worst countries when it comes to the ease of doing business. Of 190 countries, Haiti holds the 151st position and the second to last place in terms of the overall difficulty to start a business.
“I have encountered many challenges,” Daphnée said. “Everything is quite complicated here. For example, we cannot do any procedure related to opening a business online and since we must do everything physically, we end up losing a lot of time.”
Still, Daphnée is committed to showing the potential Haiti has to offer through ‘the beauty of perseverance’. She is regularly invited to take part in conferences on entrepreneurship to inspire other Haitians to do the same.