Cellphone entrepreneur Denis O'Brien promoting Haiti entrepreneurship

Denis O'Brien, Irish billionaire and owner of cellphone company, Digicel was the first private investor to penetrate Haiti, the poorest country in Western Hemisphere. He introduced Digicel into Haiti in 2006. There was no shortage of skeptics about this move made by him but six years later in 2012, Digicel turned out to be the largest private sector investor in Haiti with a total user base of 4.8 million.

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The cellphone entrepreneur is a true visionary and when everyone looks at the gloomy side of Haiti, he says that there is not even one Haitian problem that cannot be fixed. He says that all it takes is implementing the right project skills at the right place. He is right! He revolutionized the cellphone industry in Haiti by making cellphones available at rates as low as $7 per unit and call rates are fixed to be as low as it is practically possible.

Denis noticed that homegrown entrepreneurship is almost non-existent and surprisingly enough, banks and government did very little to promote small businesses and investments. He strongly believes that Haiti has talents and that just anyone; even a person sitting under a tree can come up and say that he has an idea. He says that all it will take Haiti to prosper is to harness that idea and the skills of the person. He says that instead of depending on imports, Haiti need to kick start the sector right in its own geographic boundaries.

With next 4G upgrade to be introduced by Digicel in Haiti, the total investment by Digicel in the country alone will rise to 600 million USD. Apart from profit-making investments, Denis O'Brien has also spent millions of dollars in non-profit investments to help the different sectors of Haitian economy to recover from the recent earthquake and also to promote education in Haiti. There are 150 schools built by Digicel Foundation providing education to over 90,000 Haitian students.

O'Brien thinks that Haiti's development will require more foreign investors but it will be the homegrown entrepreneurship that will help these foreign investors to invest more. To tap this homegrown entrepreneurship, there has to be a vision that is greater than just business and profit!

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Read more: Digicel, cellphone, Investor, Denis O'Brien, Digicel Entrepreneur of the Year, Entrepreneur, Business & Finance

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