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Monday, August 2, 2010

Project Eden Returns from Haiti

Contact: LaDawn Burnett
Cell: 312-375-1763

Project Eden Returns from Economic Development Mission in Haiti
Chicago-area organization mobilizes to provide
intensive three-day business training seminar for local entrepreneurs

Forest Park, IL (August 2, 2010) – Project Eden (PE), an affiliate of the Joseph Center®, a non-profit based in Forest Park, Illinois, just returned from its second economic development mission in Haiti. For nearly three years PE has worked to provide economic development solutions for Haiti. In 2009, prior to the earthquake, Project Eden traveled to Haiti for its first economic development mission. Last week, July 25-31, PE returned with 24 volunteers to conduct an intensive three-day business training seminar for more than 200 local entrepreneurs.

“We believe the development of human capital is essential for Haiti`s rebirth,” said Deloris Thomas, Executive Director of Project Eden. “Our workshops teach basic business principals which participants can use to create or grow their own businesses. We aim to teach people `how to fish` so they can build strong, independent and sustainable lives for themselves, their families and ultimately, their country.”

The three-day seminar, held at Le Plaza Hotel, was comprised of three tracks, each meeting for three days. More than 175 individuals participated in Be All You Can Dream (BAYCD), an interactive business simulation that unfolds the process of how to start a business step-by-step. BAYCD teaches foundational business principles such as accounting, marketing, pricing, negotiation, as well as professional and personal financial management. In addition, groups wrote and starred in their own television commercials.

One-on-One Business Consulting was a small, intimate workshop of 30 business owners who completed last year`s BAYCD training. PE advisors taught on the components of a business plan, the role of market research, e-commerce, and developing a marketing strategy. On the last day, each owner had a one-on-one session with a PE advisor who dissected their business and provided feedback on how to streamline operations and increase profits.

The workshop, Construction Training: Theory and Planning, educated 20 local construction workers, architects, and engineers on the importance of building according to industry standards. Participants visited a local construction site and also took part in a mini-urban planning exercise and developed their ideal community.

Project Eden members also held a Career Day at Grace International‟s elementary and high schools. Speaking to more than 500 children, they shared how they achieved professional success and empowered youth to dream big and work hard to achieve their goals. PE members also distributed toys, toiletries, clothes, and shoes to the residents of Grace Village, the tent city that sprung up on Grace International`s compound after the earthquake.

Project Eden has long worked with Grace International, a Haitian-based NGO founded by Bishop Joel Jeune. Initially housing a girl`s orphanage, primary and elementary schools, and clinic, after the earthquake, Grace became home to more than 14,000 displaced Haitians. Project Eden immediately helped purchase a flat-bed truck to assist Grace`s organizers with picking up food from distribution centers. PE also purchased 100 tents for orphans and widows to sleep in.

To date, PE has trained more than 500 Haitians working in business, construction, and education.

For a daily re-cap on Project Eden`s trip to Haiti, visit: http://theprojecteden.blogspot.com . For more information on Project Eden and how to get involved, visit: www.theprojecteden.org.

About Project Eden
Project Eden is an affiliate of the Joseph Center, a non-profit entrepreneur training center and incubator founded by Dr. William S. Winston. Located in Forest Park, Illinois, Project Eden offers a unique approach to economic development. Based on the belief that efficient businesses and markets are the drivers for sustainable economic development, Project Eden is committed to growing successful entrepreneurs and revitalizing communities in developing nations. Our mission is to eradicate poverty around the world, one community at a time.