June 16, 2008

Entrepreneurs helping out communities in Haiti

Belfast Telegraph – 16th June 2008


Entrepreneurs helping out communities in Haiti

by Graham Bardgett

Seven Northern Ireland entrepreneurs – including Lord Kilclooney – are spending this week in Haiti helping local communities create sustainable projects to alleviate hardship.

The cross-border operation is sponsored by InterTradeIreland, Invest NI and Enterprise Ireland, involving 40 Irish people in total.

Included in the Northern Ireland contingent are past finalists of the Ernst & Young entrepreneur of the year competition Brian Irwin of W D Irwin and James Kilbane of Grafton Recruitment.

The group also includes recently announced 2008 finalists, Danny Moore of Wombat Financial Software, Orla Corr from the McAvoy Group, Lord Kilclooney of Alpha Newspapers, Patricia O’Hagan from Core Systems, and Terence Brannigan from resource.

Approximately 66% of Haiti’s rural population live below the poverty threshold and unemployment rate are around 60%.

The Irish entrepreneurs’ objective is to further develop six sustainable businesses set up by last year’s finalists, create employment opportunities and also attempt to help craft practical solutions to Haiti’s environmental disadvantages – deforestation, soil erosion and water pollution. Their efforts will continue when they get home.

Participants in the week long retreat will also engage in a series of presentations on environmental corporate social responsibility, led by Dr Kellie McElhaney from the University of California, Berkeley.

Also travelling are Donal Durkan, and Martin Robinson from Invest NI, and Liam Nellis of InterTradeIreland.