Throughout the developing world, infrastructure insufficiencies often create barriers for aspiring entrepreneurs. However, these shortcomings can also provide the platform for innovative and sustainable business opportunities.

Such is the case for entrepreneurs like Edouard Carrie, who started his company Environmental Cleaning Solutions S.A. (ECSSA) as a way to clean up Haiti’s streets and generate income. Founded in 2010, the company’s mission is simple yet profound: “to change a nation through recycling.” Via its material recovery facility in Port-au-Prince, ECSSA aims to collect over 80 tons of recyclable products per day.

Not only does it positively impact the environment, increased waste management also helps Haiti’s lowest income citizens.

For example, individuals can increase their income by collecting recyclable materials and thus afford schooling for their children, healthcare or other necessities. In addition, the various collection centers create jobs around the region.

The start-up has had great success in the three years since its conception. According to USAID, “ECSSA has grown to provide extra cash to over 6,000 Haitians who deposit bags of discarded bottles at 65 collection points throughout the Port-au-Prince region.” Furthermore, the company has shipped nearly 300 million plastic bottles to other countries for additional processing to create other products.

ECSSA’s growth would not have been possible without the support of both USAID and the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF).

PADF sponsors the Leveraging Effective Application of Direct Investments (LEAD) Business Plan Competition, a grant program that assists small and medium enterprises in finances, business development and access to capital. LEAD operates in Cap-Haitien, Saint-Marc and Port-au-Prince with a targeted focus on “industries and businesses with the greatest potential to create jobs, including construction, tourism, agribusiness and alternative energy.”

Outside assistance – such as that from LEAD and USAID – has allowed ECSSA to thrive and transform the landscape in Port-au-Prince.

“My company now has the capacity to increase its individual collectors from 6,000 people to up to 20,000,” Carrie said. “Additionally, the increase in collection points and processing capacity provide entrepreneurs the opportunity to grow their own businesses by serving as intermediary plastic collectors and suppliers for ECSSA.”

Not only cleaning the streets, ECSSA is clearing the way for sustainable environmental and business development throughout Haiti’s capital city.

Mallory Thayer

Sources: USAID, Leveraging Effective Application of Direct Investments, Environmental Cleaning Solutions S.A.
Photo: United Nations Photo