Thursday, December 26, 2013

An Update from Apparent Project

Written by Shelley Clay

A Butterfly is emerging- Papillon Enterprise

AP - Successful Business Incubator!

A business incubator is an organization that specializes in taking ideas or start-up companies and encouraging them until they become full-fledged businesses that are able to produce profits and stand on their own. Typically, incubators are programs sponsored by donations from large corporations or colleges. They take on several start-up companies at once and provide them with the necessary resources to run their business.

In 2009 Apparent Project supported the efforts to help four women out of poverty by helping them get started in jewelry training, paper bead rolling and more. It worked. Four women turned into 14 artisans by the end of the year. By the next year,  80 people were working.

AP was no longer under the radar in Haiti and had to formalize as a business in Haiti. This business was started by Apparent Project founder Shelley Clay and was called Papillon Enterprise.
Although Papillon became the legal production center for all things Apparent Project, and was known to most by the brand Apparent Project, it actually has been it's own separate legal and fiscal identity since 2011. Papillon's establishment allowed the artisans to keep working legally and allowed many more employees to be hired. Because Apparent Project was the distributor of almost all things made by Papillon and also the business incubator, people continued to know the production facility as Apparent Project in Haiti.

In 2013 things turned a corner. Production was booming.. and more buyers other than AP were buying things made by Papillon. Shelley was running both AP and Papillon Enterprise and quickly realized that things were becoming to much to handle by just one person AND realized the roles of both organizations needed to be defined and described.

Papillon Enterprise: A social enterprise and production facility in Haiti born out of the efforts of the Apparent Project in order to create jobs and help keep kids out of orphanages. Papillon is run and owed by Shelley Clay and has sold to other buyers such as Donna Karan, Disney, Choose Haiti, The Gap, and more.

Apparent Project is the business incubator for start up businesses that help aid in the economic situation of families in Haiti. Apparent Project also does community development, education, job skills training, medical relief, prenatal care, and also continues to market and promote Papillon goods as well as other Haitian artisan goods through it's party sales and fundraisers.

This fall with now 230 employees, Shelley Clay decided to step down as the face of Apparent Project and focus solely on running Papillon Enterprise. Everything will continue as usual in terms of the function of the two organizations and for now, our stateside operations director, Marilyn, will be the director of Apparent Project. This will allow Shelley to oversea the growth of the business without having to co manage a nonprofit in the United States. In short, one person can't do it al!!

Well done Apparent Project. The first business incubator attempt was a smashing success!
What now?
We have hopes that along with the normal support that Apparent Project contributes to the community here in Haiti, that another business would soon be born out of APs efforts to further employ and empower the Haitian poor! Everything will pretty much stay the same. We will still be selling great artisan products made by the same great artisans, and celebrating what their creativity is accomplishing. We are hoping that AP will now be able to grow and move to the next level. Some of our brainstorms for more business incubation includes: graphic design, computer training, micro business assistance, and more. We thank you for your support of providing jobs and restoring dignity to the Haitian poor!