With a backdrop of the Caribbean sun rising over a white-sandy beach, we hosted Haiti Tech Summit at the all-inclusive Royal Decameron Beach Resort in Haiti. Yes, Haiti.
After touring the world attending global conferences spanning Dubai, Russia, Nigeria and San Francisco, Souffrant-Ntim, a Haitian-American, noticed that ecosystems across industries were developing and drawing investments as a result of these events and gatherings. “If these conferences are serving as a catalyst for development and innovation in these communities,” she thought to herself, “why not do this in Haiti?”. With that came the vision to launch the Haiti Tech Summit with a 13-year commitment to gather the world’s most influential investors, entrepreneurs and industry leaders in Haiti – a country often characterized by economic poverty and political instability.
On Day 1, the Summit kicked-off with an inspiring and powerful keynote from Ben Horowitz, (Partner and Co-Founder of renown VC firm Andreessen Horowitz,) entitled “To Create Culture, Start a Revolution.” In his keynote, Horowitz, a fan of Haitian liberator, Toussaint L’Overture, paid homage and called for Haitians to change their mindset in order to fuel collaboration and ultimately change the country’s narrative. After a standing ovation, attendees then listened to keynotes and panels from 100+ influencers and speakers from over 18 countries, representing top companies such as Google, Facebook, Airbnb, Linkedin, Uber, Mastercard, Paypal, Github, Singularity, Draper University, Access Haiti, Center for Financial Investments, Hertz and many more.
The end of Day 1 was concluded by Haiti’s President, Jovenel Moise, who addressed the crowd in a moving speech calling for unity and innovation, as well as his administration’s commitment to supporting the Haiti Tech Summit team in helping to advance the nation. Other notable guests over the 2-day Summit included Roy Glasberg from Google’s Launchpad Accelerator, Matt Terrell from Facebook’s Developers Circle, and Vicky Jeudy from Netflix’s Original Series “Orange is the New Black”. Over 40 media outlets attended including representatives from Tech Crunch, NY Times, Essence, Ebony, Black Enterprise, Inc., Forbes, Huffington Post, LoopHaiti, L’Union Suite, Chokarella, Trace Media, Le Nouvelliste and more.
To learn more information, visit www.haititechsummit.com and join the Facebook group.
Haiti Tech Summit Team