The HRA Business Investment Expo & Conference this year is expanding beyond Haiti and including all of the Caribbean

  • Posted by Marina Vatav
  • April 2, 2014 8:22 AM EDT

For its fifth edition to take place on June 5-7th in Washington, DC, HRA Business Investment Expo & Conference is extending its reach to include not just the Haitian business community, but players from all over the Caribbean: businesses, government representatives, investors, and other professionals.

Titled "The Caribbean: Beyond Sun, Sand & Sea – Strengthening Trade among Caribbean Nations”, the event aims to engage members of the Diaspora in quality networking and to encourage them to invest in their home countries.

The event includes a business expo, conference, a marketplace area, and the traditional Investor's Tank, a session where entrepreneurs can pitch their ideas to investors.

Firmin Baker, President of HRA, says that the event preparations are going well, and the Caribbean business community is responding positively. Besides the traditional Haitian partners of the event, the most active participants are representatives from the Dominican Republic, Saint Lucia, and Dominica.

"We have made a lot of strategic partnerships with some of the Caribbean organizations, chambers of commerce, and we reached out to a lot of investment promotion in the Caribbean in order to fuel that extension," says Baker.

Some of the new elements to this edition are the Marketplace and the Award Dinner

The event organizers have included a new marketplace area for businesses that want not just to exhibit, but also to sell their merchandise during the two-day-event.

The Award dinner is another novelty.

"We want to recognize some people who've been supporting us for the past four years and also Diaspora individuals who have had a significant contribution in the development of their home country. We want to show people in the Diaspora that they can be successful on both sides of the Atlantic," said Firmin Baker.

Investor's tank session open to the Caribbean

The traditional Investor's Tank session will include this year presenters from all over the Caribbean who will pitch their ideas to potential investors. Just like in the Port-au-Prince edition of the event that took place in January, the best presenter will be awarded.

Since they extended their reach to include participants from all over the Caribbean, the organizers expect a bigger event this year. Last year, when the event focused on the Haitian business community only, it had 48 exhibitors. For this upcoming edition they expect to double this number.

"We expect the business community to really come out and participate in order to network with government officials, investors, and entrepreneurs. And for those who are looking for funding for their projects, this is a great venue to come and participate,” said Firmin Baker.

The registration deadline for exhibitors is April 15th.

The event is supported by CAIPA - Caribbean Association for Investment Promotion Agency, Caribbean Chamber of Commerce in California, Institute of Caribbean Studies, and the Caribbean Export Development Agency.

Since its launch after the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the HRA Expo has attracted over 2,500 participants. This is the first edition open to include participants from all over the Caribbean.