Haiti road under reconstructionPhoto credit: Depositphotos @levkro


Does it seem difficult to succeed in business because you think like an outsider?

Do you reduce your talent by believing that unless you have the right connections, speak the right language, and look like mainstream America, that you won’t make it?

There are members of the Haitian diaspora who may have an idea, but think that they have no support, or are struggling to connect with other potential partners. These individuals can learn a great deal from Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba, rags-to-riches story. He is proof that perseverance pays off. In 15 years he not only found success, but helped shaped China’s business landscape.

So, if you’re a member of the Diaspora and are in the process of either starting a business or putting your idea into action, take a look below at the five lessons from Ma that can inspire you to take a leap of faith.

Be Passionate about Finding Solutions

Ma became successful by finding a solution to a problem he had. He was unable to use the Internet to find certain products in China. He created Alibaba to solve that problem. In an interview, Ma asserted, “What is important in my life is influencing many people as well as China’s development.”

Action, Drive, and Smarts Are More Important than Academic Credentials and Job Title

As one reads Ma’s academic background and career path, it’s evident that he was not an MBA working in information technology or in the field of finance. He was a teacher and a tour guide in China, but was still able to build a billion-dollar company.

The next time you feel insecure about your background, please remember that ambition and a hunger for learning are more important than degrees.

Focus on Becoming a Disrupter

There are approximately seven billion people in the world, and most of them have problems to solve. Start paying attention to how you can solve their problems. There are some problems that only you can solve, with the help of your community.

Neil Gough and Alexandra Stevenson from The New York Times wrote, “Ma has proved to be a serial disrupter – an outsider with a knack for creating new markets by reimagining old industries like retailing or finance.”

If you’re unsure about how to become a disrupter, read Alex Pentland’s Honest Signals: How They Shape Our World. The more of an outsider you are, the more leverage you have to succeed.

 Inclusivity and Generosity Are Smart Business Strategies

Ma’s initial idea was to include as many friends and family members in his business vision. Those who believed in him are also financially independent, and had the same interest in changing the lives of other Chinese men and women.

According to Gough and Stevenson, “Mr. Ma wasn’t the type of person who would start a business and then keep 90 percent of the equity for himself.” Besides, Gough and Stevenson pointed out, “In the earlier days, when Alibaba was first forming, he was giving equity to all of the high school students who were working with him.”

The lesson here is that one successful business has the power to change more lives than charity can.

Focus on Building Global Leaders

According to Alibaba’s mission statement, global leaders matter. Ma’s strengths are his ability to think strategically and to train and hire global leaders. Creating a billion-dollar company takes focus and a dedicated team of exceptional leaders. He believes that Alibaba can “compete internationally and across sectors, and intends to serve the American, European and emerging markets.”

As China continues to flex its economic muscles as a global power, more Jack Mas will step onto the international stage. People like him are being born every day around the world, including Haiti, the Caribbean and the diaspora. Let Ma’s story move you to make something happen.

Now it’s your turn. Who will be the next Jack Ma? You? How will you put your plan into action? Tell me in the comments below.


Note: This post was originally published by Haitian Times

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Daniella Bien-Aime is the founder of the Bien-Aime Post, a digital platform that focuses on business, leadership, education, and social media, within the context of the Haitian diaspora and Haiti. Follow her on Twitter @dbienaime




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7 thoughts on “5 Lessons Of Success For Diaspora-Owned Haiti Businesses”

  1. Interesting post. It would be ideal if Haitians in the Diaspora and in Haiti can think strategically on the possible business revolution that can propel Haiti economy. They are ways. We just need leaders to collaborate. We just need to think as 21st century entrepreneurs, not like we’re still in the 1800, even though the country is yet to be well-exploited for the benefit of its people.
    Nou Tout Konekte pour un meilleur Haiti. Haiti in our Heart. Please google my name or Nou Tout Konekte. We may be able to collaborate in some of our works.

  2. Vivens, thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. I agree with you that we need to think more strategically as a community. However, I must say, that in the last few years, I’ve witnessed quite a few Haitians in the Diaspora and in Haiti taking the lead to start their own businesses. I think a business revolution will eventually emerge from these new startups.

    And yes, I would love to connect and see how we can collaborate. I will Google you and connect. Stay in contact as well by subscribing to the Bien-Aime Post blog. I am working on an e-book on Haiti and business. I would love to send it to you when it’s published this month. It’s will be free.

    1. Will do. Let me know when the e-book is available. BTW, I was listening to a song by Richie – also featuring Dadou Pasquet, Top Adleman, and Shedly Abraham, titled “Linite.” It’s an eye opener for all Haitian politicians. They hold the populace hostage. It’s definitely us in the Diaspora that should engage more to fight the good fight for Haiti’s economic prosperity.

  3. Wildy Pierre

    This is an excellent article. One of the thing I notice in the Haitian community more young people aspire to be Gracia Delva or Michel Martely. I was born in the Haiti. My dream was to be a politician. When I moved to the United States I realize all of us cannot be politicians. We need scientists, entrepreneurs, and bloggers like yourself to create a better future for our young brothers and sisters in Haiti.

    1. Wildy, thank you for your comment. I do agree that we need to pull together as a community to create a better future. I’m happy you found something from the article that resonated with you. Thank you for the support.

  4. Daniel Ulysse

    Dear Mrs. Bien Aime

    First and foremost, I’d like to take a few minutes to thank you Daniella for your commitment to Haiti our motherland. It is indeed a difficult task to devote so much time and energy to a place where most people don’t appreciate sacrifices others make to help them forward. I salute your determination and passion to see changes in business & education in Haiti. I’m presently the CEO of Groupe Intermonde, SA a group of companies from the US that are involved in agriculture, light manufacturing, aviation, maritime,, & tourism. We based in northern Haiti committed to the sustainable development of the greater north. I look forward to work with you. At the meantime I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year.

    Sincerely yours
    Rev. Daniel Ulysse

    1. Daniel:

      Thank you for connecting with me here. I understand how the sacrifices can seem meaningless to some, but we must persevere for those who will eventually benefit from our efftorts and energy. I look forward to learning more about the work you are currently doing in Haiti.

      Have a great Christmas!

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