By Nic Johnson

My name is Nic Johnson and I have been working in Haiti for five years with organizations of all sizes determined to help the country develop following the devastating 2010 earthquake. From these experiences, I have learned the valuable lesson that conventional development organizations focus all too often on solving the end crises of systemic problems. While I deeply respect the work of organizations focused on providing food, sanitation, and other life sustaining goods and services, my goal is to supplement this work with new programs to promote sustainable community development and economic growth through social venture entrepreneurship.

My commitment to action is to identify, develop, and pilot local entrepreneur business plans in communities throughout Haiti. The program, called AID | Ventures, is beginning its ground operations in the summer of 2015. CGI U came at a critical time for the organization and the conference sessions provided advice on how to grow organizational capacity and establish monitoring and evaluation systems. It was also a rigorous practice opportunity to pitch the organization to CGI U attendees and network with other student organizations prior to donor outreach.