The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) has commenced their expansion of the Angel investment footprint within the Dominican Republic and Haiti following the hosting of the first Bi-National Angel Investment workshop in collaboration with several partners, including the Centre for Innovation for Business Development and Entrepreneurship (CIDE) at the Iberoamerican University (UNIBE), the DR Ministry of Commerce, Industry, the Ministry of Commerce in Haiti, the Haitian Chamber of Commerce and two angel investor groups in the DR, namely ENLACES and NEXXUS. Key participants from Haiti also included Root Capital (an agricultural impact investor) and Yunis Social Business (a social impact investor).
“Promoting innovative ways of funding SME’s including supporting the development of the angel investment climate within the DR and Haiti is a key activity for the Agency. The DR has some fairly advanced angel groups and their inclusion to the Regional Angel Investor Network (RAIN) supported by Caribbean Export and the World Bank will certainly strengthen the region as a whole. Furthermore, this initiative provides an opportunity for both DR and Haitian firms to benefit from exposure to the entire regional angel network via the joint action of the Agency’s regional and bi-national programmes” expressed Mr. Escipion Oliveira, Deputy Executive Director of Caribbean Export.
More than 70 angel investors, entrepreneurs and business development associations attended the workshop which focused on increasing awareness of alternative sources of capital for early stage business development, in particular, angel investing.
Officiated by the head of the delegation to the European Union in the Dominican Republic, Ambassador Alberto José Navarro and the Deputy Minister for the Development of SMEs in the DR Ministry of Commerce, Industry and SMEs, Ignacio Mendez, participants from Haiti and the Domincian Republic received expert insights from Nelson Gray, a business angel with over 20 years of experience investing in some 42 companies across the world and has provides training and mentoring to entrepreneurs and angel investors. He was also the European Angel of the Year in 2008 and the winner of the Queens Award for Enterprise Promotion in 2015.
“I’m pleased to have been able to impart some of my knowledge and experience to the audience here in Santo Domingo. I’ve seen a great deal of potential in the Caribbean for angel investing – whilst it’s not suitable for everyone, it is a proven alternative for firms with high growth ambition to gain both finance and effective business advice” commented Gray.
The workshop was organized within the framework of the 10th European Development Fund, Haiti-Dominican Republic Bi-national Programme, and participants would have gained greater understanding as it relates to company valuations and conducting due diligence on prospective investments. Further entrepreneurs from Haiti and the DR pitched their businesses to the attendees in the hope of securing angel investment.
Through hosting the event, Caribbean Export sought to increase awareness of business angel investing in Haiti and the Dominican Republic and widen the Regional Angel Investment Network (RAIN) to include angel investor groups from the DR and assist in the development of Angel groups within Haiti.