haiti coffee growers
Members of a coffee cooperative in Haiti tend to their product. One proposal in a business pitch competition is designed to assist coffee growers. Courtesy: Caribbrew

Entrepreneur Beverly Malbranche wants to help revive Haiti’s coffee-bean cultivation. Yet, the Newark, New Jersey resident said, she knows too well the challenges of financing her three-year-old socially conscious business.

“Usually, you go to the banks, and they [charge] you interest,” said Malbranche, founder and CEO of coffee retailer CariBBrew. “When you try to get funds from venture capital or an angel investor, or even a social impact fund, they consider the risks of doing business in Haiti much higher than other places.” 

With a new investor competition, Malbranche may now have a way. She is now one of 13 U.S.-based entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders of Haitian descent who are finalists in the Diaspora Partnership Accelerator program, which contains an Investor Tank Pitch Competition component. Sponsored by USAID’s humanitarian affairs bureau, the program features a competition scheduled for October, where finalists will pitch development projects focused on Haiti. Winners in three categories — agribusiness, health and shelter — will each earn $150,000 to support their venture, according to USAID

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Sam is a reporter for The Haitian Times and a 2020 Report for America corps member. He has covered Haiti and its diaspora since 2018. His work has also appeared in USA Today, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Haiti Liberte. Sam can be reached at sam@haitiantimes.com or on Twitter @sambojarski.