Haiti Tech Summit founder Christine Souffrant Ntim is on a mission: 'Haiti is not open for business, it’s open for disruption'

Courtesy Of Christine Souffrant Ntim

By Dominique Fluker, Essence, June 4, 2018

Meet Christine Souffrant Ntim, serial technology entrepreneur, disruptor, and founder of the Haiti Tech Summit. Ntim is a Haitian-American startup ecosystem expert for emerging international markets such as Haiti, Dubai, and Africa. Her entrepreneurial journey started with Vendedy, a social network connecting people to street markets with the aim of digitizing a $10 trillion-dollar Black economy and centralizing the world’s 200,000 street markets.

Her award-winning digital entrepreneurship career began in 2013 when she quit a job in banking and moved to Dubai. During her time there, she volunteered to organize and support tech entrepreneurs, and not long after, her fierce hustle and hard work paid off and Ntim became one of the most recognizable faces within the tech ecosystem in Dubai. She hosted monthly events via Startup Grind as their Chapter Director. Fast forward to 2018 and now she’s preparing for this year’s Haiti Tech Summit which brings together thousands of entrepreneurs, investors, and digital marketers under one roof to address humanity’s greatest issues via entrepreneurship. ESSENCE sat down with Ntim to allow her an opportunity to discuss her entrepreneurial journey, passion for digital spaces and how Haiti is emerging as a tech incubator.

 

The Haiti Tech Summit is the largest gathering of entrepreneurs, innovators, and influencers leveraging tech to impact the future of humanity and highlights the importance of startup ecosystems to either create or disrupt industries across all disciplines. What inspired you to create the Haiti Tech Summit?

To put it plainly, to change the narrative around Haiti and the potential of emerging market countries. Too many times people associate negativity, devastation and hopelessness with places like Haiti. When I made the Forbes list in 2016, I was featured in publications around the world who framed me as a rare representation of Haitian excellence and that my advances in tech had nothing to do with Haiti or my Haitian heritage. I did not want the world to accept that perspective. By 2030, Haiti will be the global case study needed to start and scale entrepreneurial ecosystems. In the end, Haiti hosted 100 global speakers from around the world and generated over 83 million social media impressions, 87 global press mentions and welcomed over 500 guests for 2 historic days turning it into the region’s largest tech gathering and Haiti’s first major international global summit.

 

As a woman of Haitian descent, why was it important to you to create the Haitian Tech Summit?

Hosting an event of this magnitude in Haiti not only aims to revitalize economic activity in the country but to also provide a new narrative for emerging markets. That’s my mantra to get people to understand that solutions for Haiti’s economic development can’t be approached with the same mindset that caused it to stagnate within the century. The President of Haiti announced his commitment to the rapid scale of tech entrepreneurship with the launch of Haiti’s first incubator at the summit and made the deadline of launching the space prior to the next Haiti Tech Summit event scheduled for June. in the past, initiatives like these would take more time to access, initiate and scale. The Haiti Tech Summit showcased that the ecosystem was ready for it.

 

As you're ramping up for the #HaitiTechSummit2018 Summit, what founders should attendees expect to see, learn and hear from this year?

Out of our line-up of 100 speakers, there is huge excitement around our headliner Jack Dorsey, Founder of Twitter. Secondly, attendees should expect to see the same global line up of Silicon Valley giants that were featured last year, such as Google, Facebook, Facebook, Linkedin, etc.

Your 2016 TEDx Talk the Power of Small Moves -  Don’t Follow Your Passions, Follow Your Patterns challenged viewers to ignore the cliché advice from influencers who say follow your passions. Share some of your tips for women of color on how to best follow their dreams.

Reactions are better than research. We are quick to research books and stories about successful entrepreneurship instead of getting the reality of entrepreneurship from the source -- other entrepreneurs.

Rely on your abilities to make things happen. "Work like you depend on yourself and build like you believe in God." While it’s great to reach out and create as many strong networks as possible, to be a successful entrepreneur, at some point you’ve got to build your capacity for excellence.

 

Posted June 6, 2018