Haiti’s first national digital career accelerator program kicks off to address unemployment

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By STEM Caribbean | Posted on July 13, 2020

Haiti’s first national digital career accelerator program kicks off to address unemployment

On Tuesday last week, Haiti Tech Summit started the first week of Haiti’s first and only national digital accelerator program with a full agenda. Haiti Tech Summit, an initiative of the Global Startup Ecosystem (GSE), is an annual event that brings together entrepreneurs, investors, celebrities, and creatives to accomplish a common goal of transforming Haiti into an international technology hub. 

In 2017, Forbes 30 Under 30 Entrepreneur Christine Souffrant Ntim founded this notable event with a 13-year mission to develop Haiti through technology and entrepreneurship. This tech summit helps develop Haiti’s tech space through initiatives that foster the growth of Haiti’s digital economy. One initiative launched this year is the Haiti Digital Career Accelerator, which aims to revamp Haiti’s local economy and equip Haitians with the skills necessary to be employable for online jobs.   

In a virtual press conference last month announcing this initiative, Christine Souffrant Ntim mentioned how the COVID-19 pandemic showed that “technology is not an option for Haiti, it is literally what Haiti needs to not only survive but to thrive.”   

She also noted that since the inception of Haiti Tech, unemployment has been a significant challenge. The unemployment rate in Haiti, according to the World Bank, is 13.8%.    

Young professionals are believed to be among the most affected groups as the unemployment rate is expected to increase due to the pandemic. The Haiti Tech team hopes to address this issue and facilitate remote work opportunities for the entire population of Haiti through the national digital accelerator program. This 3-part initiative started off with a 4-week program in partnership with LinkedIn and the US Embassy.   

During the first part of the program, unemployed Haitians will learn how to work in a digital space. After completing this training, some of the participants will have an opportunity to complete a remote internship.  

The second phase of the program targets businesses and those who are currently employed and want to improve their skills in areas such as human resources and recruiting. In the third phase of the program, the Haitian diaspora will have the opportunity to connect with the local workforce and provide employment opportunities.  

“Haiti does not have a national service [program]. We want to institute the first national service program to get the diaspora to connect back to Haiti and work remotely for government institutions, business institutions, and local businesses,” Christine Souffrant Ntim stated.  

A GoFundMe fundraiser has been set up to raise funds for 100 participants of the first part of the program to start remote internships in August with local Haitian businesses, businesses in the diaspora, or global partners of Haiti Tech such as Google.   

Haiti Tech Summit has been a driving force behind Haiti’s tech development. It has garnered support from several global businesses and prominent individuals in the tech space. Speakers at the event included Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter and Square, and Tom Davis, Chief Marketing Officer of Forbes Magazine.   

Despite challenges each year, the summit took place against all the odds and made notable impacts. During the press conference, founder Christine Souffrant Ntim described some of the challenges and reassured supporters of the 13-year commitment. She also highlighted some milestones Haiti Tech has achieved thus far, which include launching incubators, attracting initiatives by Facebook, Google, and Airbnb to Haiti, and, most recently, starting a digital career development training program. This year the summit is scheduled for October 9 and 10.   

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