Very often, people ask me this question: how do I start a company in Haiti? I’m going to try to give you a practical explanation. I say practical because I do not intend to explain what the law says about the issue, but to tell you the steps of the process. The legal aspect, however will be crucial.
Starting a company requires the support of several areas such as economics, law, finance, accounting, marketing, to name a few. But everything starts with an idea. Let’s say you are out for drinks with a couple of friends, and all of a sudden, you think of a business opportunity. There can be two possibilities: you can either start the company alone or with the cooperation of those with you at the table. In the second case there are three possibilities: an anonymous company, a general partnership or a limited partnership. Those choices depend on the objectives of the company and the starting capital.
If you want to start a company, you need to know what it is. I mention it because many young entrepreneurs often confuse a business with a foundation. You need to start reading books on the matter, or attend to conferences. If you do that it means you are motivated enough to go to the next level.
Knowing the market is very important. You must be very well informed on the competition, the targeted consumers or clients. You could hire a market study consultant to give you the best data on the reality of the market: consumption habits, cultural idiosyncrasy, and so forth.
You will need money. A company cannot be created without money. Too often, the confusion between a business and a charity organization makes people think that money comes second, but that’s not the case. You can have the best ideas in the world but with no money, no company. You could borrow money from the bank, from a friend or a usurer, from your savings or capital from shareholders.
Now you come to the phase where you must register the business. There’s not much to do but to talk to your lawyer. He will explain how to proceed. I’ve already written articles on general partnerships, limited partnerships or anonymous companies, so there’s no need to repeat it all. The entrepreneur does not take an active part in the process of registering the company, the lawyer will do it all. He will however send you the statutes of the company for your approval, then will ask you to sign them, along with other documents for you and your partners to sign. The rest is up to the lawyer and the ministry of Commerce and Industry, and the National Press.
This is where your accountant comes in. once registered, the company must be in good standing with the general bureau of taxes (DGI in French). They will require you to handover your opening balance sheets, and pay a few obligations such as your operating license, and those of your associates.
As I said in the very beginning of this article, creating a business requires several fields. I only brushed the points, avoiding some issues in which I am not an expert. Market study, financial evaluation, communication, economics are all areas that can provide you with useful data. The registration of the company will be done by your lawyer at the ministry of Commerce and Industry. To create a company, the only thing required from you is your entrepreneurship, the rest concerns the lawyer, the accountant, the market study specialist, and so on.
Me Philippe Volmar
Président of HDI