Starting a business is a difficult task that is made even more difficult when you are doing it in a third world country. Depending on the business you are starting, there are several major factors to consider. James Cammilleri, co-founder of Elevating Christian Ministries (ECM), an organization dedicated to feeding children in Haiti, spoke with us to go over the key things you need to know before you start developing your business in a third world country.
Struggles Facing Third World Countries
Most third world countries are former colonies of European powers, many of which gained their independence after World War II. The natural resources of these colonies were exploited, and when they gained independence, many of them had to overcome the adverse economic effects created by colonialism. Some key characteristics required to reverse such conditions are economic discipline, good management, strategic planning, and compo tenant political leadership — attributes that newly independent countries usually lack. However, the high risks involved in investing in these developing countries also has a prospect of high returns.
It is impossible to generalize business conditions in developing countries, as they vary greatly from country to country. For this reason, James Cammilleri suggests doing in-depth market research prior to investing in business in a third world country. It is not only necessary to find a market and demand for your product or service, but necessary for identifying different opportunities.
Identify the Problems
As with any business venture, it is important to identify a problem that needs solving. For James Cammilleri, that problem was child hunger. During his trip to Haiti in 2015, James and his wife Sarah learned that children were only fed once every two days, as Haiti was facing critical food shortages (which continues to this day). If there is a problem that needs solving, you can ensure that there is a demand for your product or service.
Understand the Culture
A major aspect of starting business in a third world country involves being immersed in the culture, and James Cammilleri highly suggests being engaged in local communities before making any business decisions. Some people underestimate the impact that culture has on a business, both in terms of your company culture as well as the culture of the region itself. It is important to not try to change the culture but adapt your business practices to the country’s realities. Learning about the wants and needs of a local community will inform your actions moving forward.
You will also want to consider finding a local partner to navigate the cultural, political and financial challenges you might face. For James Cammilleri, ECM teamed up with the locals, many of which now run their operations and bread program in Haiti. Building on this, it is important to learn the regulatory and legal processes of the country you aim to do business in, such as labor laws, to protect yourself and your future business.
James Cammilleri hopes that you take into consideration these points if you plan on developing a business within a third world country.