Former Ambassador Joseph launched Haiti Vital Records Express, LLC

  • Posted by Marina Vatav
  • February 12, 2014 11:58 AM EST
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  • 3,396 views

Most of us have known Mr. Louis Harold Joseph as a career diplomat who served as Haiti’s Ambassador to Nassau, Bahamas and Washington, DC. During the last year, however, Mr. Joseph has been working on launching his own company called Haiti Vital Records Express, LLC.

Recently launched in January 2014, the company (hvr-express.com) allows members of the Diaspora to request online civil status documents and school certificates and to receive them via USPS within 30-40 days. The cost of this service varies between $110 and $145 per document.

The idea came after years of serving Haiti from abroad.

“I was a diplomat stationed in the Bahamas and the US and I know all the problems our brothers and sisters from the Haitian Diaspora had with obtaining documents from Haiti. I was looking at what I could do, what type of business, and I realized that it would be a valuable business to assist people in obtaining documents, particularly vital documents, from Haiti,” shared Mr. Joseph.

Not just for individuals

The system proved to be useful not only to individuals, but also to various businesses and institutions such as insurance companies, law firms, schools, etc., which would like to verify vital records from the Haitian Registry or National Archives.

Applying for these documents yourself may not be as easy.

“With the documents from the National Archives you have to go to Court to legalize the signature of the General Director of the National Archives. After that you have to go to the Minister of Justice to legalize the signature of the judge from the Court. At the end, since the document is going out of the country, you should go to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to legalize the signature of the Minister of Justice,” said Mr. Joseph.

In business success rarely comes quickly and easily

For Mr. Joseph the transition from politics to business was not difficult due to his work experience and expertise.

“For me it is not difficult. When I started working for the Government of Haiti, I began at the Ministry of Trade. I was responsible for the center of information to assist new businessmen, to assist people who would like to invest in Haiti. From the beginning I was always business-minded, even though I was working for the government.”

However, the journey was not totally smooth.

“I have always said to my friends that when you go see a movie, it lasts only two hours, but it takes years to create the film. It is the same thing looking at the surface of a business. For example: you go to my website and you see a few pages, but it took me 10 months to put this data together,” noted Mr. Joseph.

It took time registering the business in Maryland, finding partners in Haiti, and building a website where customers could send an online request, make the payment, and upload the supporting documents that would be saved in a database. One of the biggest setbacks was going through three web design companies before finding the one that could ultimately execute the project.

Now that the services are launched, Mr. Joseph is focusing on promoting the company and building partnerships. In the future he sees his company helping Haitians from all over the world.

“I see my business as an auxiliary to the Haitian diplomatic corps. We only have about 40-45 diplomatic missions in the world. We are a small country, we cannot have missions all over the world. With the Internet we are able to reach more people, not just in places where we have diplomatic missions. I see my company as a support to the diplomatic missions,” shared Mr. Joseph.

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