Prior to the earthquake, Frantz Bissainthe had a successful shop selling soft drinks.
Buying in drinks direct from manufacturers, the 43-year-old sold them on quickly at a competitive price, making a couple of dollars per box.
His business, Fanfan Depot, turned over about one million Haitian gourdes (£14,000) a year – a healthy income in Haiti.
The father-of-one had also previously worked as a money lender in Delmas, so he had plenty of contacts and clients across the commune in Port-au-Prince.
But then the 2010 earthquake struck.
It not only damaged his business, but decimated the economy of the whole country.
“It was very difficult for me to source the products and even have the energy to work after the earthquake because it was an emergency situation – there was no electricity in Haiti and it was also difficult to buy gas,” said Frantz.
Path to recovery
As part of the British Red Cross’ recovery programme, 26 cash loans of up to $15,000 (£9,000) were distributed to small and micro-sized enterprises (SMEs) in December 2012.
Much to his delight, Frantz received a loan for the full amount; he used it to buy a truck and invested the rest in stock.
Twenty-five other businesses within Delmas 19 received smaller loans.
“It is a really good initiative,” Frantz said. “It was very important for me because in that period of time, the funding considerably improved the operation of the business and sales.
“I had no money in my account and I could not take too many risks, such as giving any credit on sales. But receiving the fund has helped me increase my turnover.”
The SME beneficiaries also receive monthly business development training to allow them to better focus their services, help improve profitability and formalise their business.
“The training is very important for businessmen,” said Frantz.
“It helps you to manage better and because of it, you also have better contact with your clients and your community.
“It would surprise you to see how much money you can earn if you know how to invest well the income in your business.”
Thanks to the loan, Fanfan Depot has also created several new jobs in the community.
“Three people living in Delmas 19 who were unemployed are now Fanfan Depot drivers,” said Frantz.
“I have other staff working in the cold store. The success of one business also creates indirect employees, working in my other businesses selling things and so regenerating the area.”
Frantz added: “Now, I can plan to build apartments in the zone to rent out, which will further strengthen my situation. And on a personal level, the future of my child is assured thanks to my businesses.”
The British Red Cross and partner Zafen/Fonkoze conducts regular monitoring visits to evaluate the businesses and see how the loan programme is meeting its goals. The scheme will end in February 2014.
Selected SMEs are paying back the loan and the funds will be reinvested into the community to help other businesses in Delmas 19 gain access to credit services.