Ricardo, 31, is a small-business owner in Simon Pele, where he was born and raised. He lives there with his wife and two children, Roodson (9yrs old) and Roodmia (5yrs old). “When you’ve got a wife and kids, you’ve got to manage taking care of them. That’s how decided I wanted to create my first business. I opened up a mini-bar, to sell refreshments and snacks to the community,” explains Ricardo. But things didn’t quite work out with Ricardo’s first business.
As time went on, competition in the area rose and Ricardo soon found himself up against a wall, the business was floating but not much was coming in: “The most frustrating part about the experience, was not being able to take care of my family, we got by, but I needed to find something else,” he shares. Then Ricardo heard about trainings being offered to residents in Simon Pele through the Investing in People and Business in Haiti program, implemented by Habitat in the area. He jumped at the chance to participate in a 5 days entrepreneurship training. During this training Ricardo learned how to create and manage a budget and the importance of doing a market study before opening a business.
“Before taking this training, I just didn’t know how to run a business. “Once I complete the training, I understood right away why my previous ventures weren’t holding their own. I wasn’t managing my business’ cash flow correctly and had I done a market study, I would have quickly realized that in fact, there were already too many mini-bars in the area.”—Ricardo Toussaint
In the months following this training Ricardo Jean Toussaint started a frozen pop business. This new venture did so well that Ricardo was able use profits to start a second business refrigerating beverages and producing ice for his clients. But he didn’t stop there, after as his ventures continued to grow, Ricardo launched a 3rd activity, selling refrigeration equipment to individuals as well as other businesses. Just three months after the training Ricardo was able to purchase a used car to help transport his products and purchase raw materials he needs. Today, he is well on his way to financial stability and has plans to keep it that way. He is proud to be an active player in Simon Pele’s development as his ventures are helping him employ other members of the community and even further, to help others create their own ventures.
“Since receiving this training, it’s just been one success after another for me. That just feels amazing. My business tripled within three months! I was able to buy a car, and today, not only can I take care of my family, I now have dreams of travelling and taking them on a wonderful vacation one day. But what makes me the proudest is the fact that I am contributing the development of this community. I can employ young people so that they can start learning to take care of themselves. All of this is thanks to this training. Thank you, Habitat, thank you to the Government of Canada and to all those who made this program possible.”—Ricardo Jean Toussaint