Haitian Partners for Christian Development (HPCD) began in 1999 when three entrepreneurs were inspired to eradicate poverty through job creation. At a Partners Worldwide conference “Business as a Calling”, in Grand Rapids, MI, hundreds of businesspeople from nearly every continent gathered to share their newfound view on their important role in developing countries. Three entrepreneurs from Haiti, Sylvie Theard (Co-founder of ITALA Pasta), Ralph Edmond (Co-founder of Laboratoires Farmatrix), and Ernso Jean-Louis (Co-founder of Red Star Market), realized the important role they need to play in Haiti.
In January 2000, HPCD officially launched at Ritz Kinam Hotel in Petionville, Haiti. Haitian entrepreneurs, representatives of Partners Worldwide, several organizations of the Haitian business sector, and the public media attended. By the end of the day, a new association of Haitian entrepreneurs held the value of sharing what they have—skills, expertise, and resources—in order to eradicate poverty through the creation of sustainable jobs for people of every class.
Co-founder, Ralph Edmond-reminisces..
From 2000-2001, in a small rented office, HPCD volu nteers provided business training to small entrepreneurs with emphasis on marketing strategies, packaging, and product quality control. Yet, HPCD soon recognized that each entrepreneur in training experienced the same challenge—a strong potential for growth, yet little to no resources available in production space, electricity, water, training, and management. The shared solution was to put entrepreneurs under the same roof, a common space needed to expand businesses in a sustainable way.
The concept of business incubation began, yet HPCD faced the challenge of finding an affordable project site in the industrial park of Port-au-Prince. However, in 2002, HPCD founder Sylvie Theard offered a building just across the road from her own factory. The first HPCD incubator was born.
As more businesspeople learned about HPCD, they too caught a glimpse of the larger purpose of business growth within Haiti. As an association of experienced businesspeople and entrepreneurs, the network of HPCD also expanded.