Mercy Corps and Western Union have joined forces to build a MicroMentor Program
CementTrust is located 35-miles from Portland Oregon, the home to one of the top-tier NGO’s (non-government organizations) in the world, Mercy Corps. Among their many initiatives they assist poor nations to build ecomomic security.
Mercy Corps is building an organizational reputation for groundbreaking, innovative programming in the world’s toughest environments. We have been impressed with Mercy Corps and we are proud to share Oregon roots.
Recently we discovered that Western Union had teamed with Mercy Corps to establish a business mentoring program called, MicroMentor. We learned more of the program in a recent visit with Amy Hause at the Mercy Corps Portland offices. Ms. Hause is the Senior Program Officer for Haiti and she is very interested in seeing that Haiti’s economic security be enhanced. As the Program Officer, she is tasked with restoring livelihoods and quickly transitioning to innovative and entrepreneurial programs in line with the agency’s global strategies. Mercy Corps is also interested in long-term economic development, so the mentoring program seems to be a perfect fit for Haiti.
Phil Oldham, Mercy Corps Regional Program Director spoke of how the organization is improving business support when discussing the insurance needs of Haiti entrepreneurs: “It’s an important step in bringing unbanked Haitians further into the formal sector and builds on Mercy Corps’ work to introduce new financial services through mobile banking and small and medium business development, to better protect the economic stability of Haiti’s poor.”
Between business mentoring and working with the financial support structure, Mercy Corps has directed its attention on small and medium business improvements for Haiti. This focus is directly in line with our goals at CementTrust to build a strong concrete supply chain that is owned and managed by Haitian entrepreneurs.
Erin Wildermuth is the Documentation and Communications Officer for Mercy Corps Haiti’s Economic Recovery team. She defines two types of entrepreneurs in Haiti, ‘necessity entrepreneurs’ and ‘opportunity entrepreneurs’. The fact that Mercy Corps and Western Union are building a system of mentoring demonstrates that supporting ether type is a good idea.
We feel that the current concrete construction system in Haiti is ripe with opportunity for both the “necessity” entrepreneur and the “opportunity” type of business person. Ether type of small business would improve the quality of construction and enhance the economic strength of each community in which they grow.
We are grateful that organizations such as Mercy Corps are making efforts to identify and then support the needed value chains in Haiti.
How can we help?