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NAAHP Blog

Mathias Pierre

5.22.2013

Entrepreneur Spotlight

Mathias PIERRE
President and founder of GaMa Group
and non profit Fondation ETRE Ayisyen

(Read Bio)

What is your occupation and academic background and how did you come to work in this field?

My idea for creating GaMa began ever since my days at the Faculty of Sciences of the UEH (Haitian State University).  However, the process took off, accelerated and became concrete in 1998.

As a young newlywed, it was a must to come up with the requisite resources needed to meet the needs of my family, which only a career at a bank could offer.

With the arrival of the Internet in the Haiti at the time, and given my passion for information technology and electronics, I was able to seize the opportunity offered by the IT field. It was thus that my wife, another associate and I decided to launch GaMa, whose primary goal was to incorporate into every home and Haitian institution Information Technology and Communications (TIC) and ensure its proficiency by all users.

In other words, our concern for our personal well being coupled with an entrepreneurial spirit pushed us to create a dynamic enterprise model, offering innovative solutions, rapidly and efficiently.

What is the biggest challenge of your work?

Like the majority of enterprises opening up in Haiti, the principal difficulties are closely linked to access to credit.  When an enterprise grows quickly, it needs additional capital and financing to satisfy demand and, certainly, to face competition in the market.  The lack of services and support focused on entrepreneurs were among the main handicaps that we faced, especially as a business which relies heavily on IT imports.

Equally challenging, were the lack of fair business practices and regulations, and the risks of unfair competition which weighed very heavily on us, and still do.

At the start of our business, we had no training other than our electrical engineering studies from the UEH.  However, given our continued presence in the business, and  given that our financing restrictions did not permit us to hire additional talent and resources, we had no other choice but to teach ourselves, either through practice or from resource books, the techniques of business management, sales, marketing and strategy, along with business leadership.  In fact, we had to adapt to the challenges faced at the time, and we acquired a certain level of expertise, which, has additionally been acknowledged and recognized as evidenced by the active participation and the different roles taken on by the GaMa founding team in a number of chambers of commerce or other employers’ associations (such as Treasurer of CCIH, Treasurer AMCHAM, President of AHTIC[1] and so on).

Identify one or two of your proudest achievements?

GaMa has developed/built a relation of proximity and trust with its clients.  Our slogan, in fact, stipulates those qualities:  GaMa is the technological partner of all desiring to learn about computer information technology.  Our service “GaMa PC Service” has distinguished itself by its efficacy, rapidity and quality, but also by the numerous recommendations and advice we provide to our clients.  Our strategy does not consist of just selling you the items you come to buy, but rather, to diagnose your needs and then propose to you the best equipment and service possible at the best available price.

These choices have placed GaMa, as the best in customer service among the enterprises in this sector.  And for a long time, it gave us our biggest edge. And let’s not forget the design, the beauty, and the quality of the interior décor of our stores which offers the client an atmosphere of comfort, well-being and security.

The years 2001-2003 marked a decisive change in GaMa’s history.  It coincided actually with our unanimous engagement toward the continued growth of the company at a strong, steady and sustainable rate.  We also took this opportunity to move from a Société en Nom Colléctif (General Partnership) to a Société Anonyme (Limited Company), whereby, the best employees would become co-owners of the enterprise.

As the years went by, the more the enterprise grew and the more GaMa expanded.  This is why, in 2007, we were able to inaugurate in Delmas one of the most beautiful stores in the country, concretizing our wishes to create a lasting image, to leave behind our heritage, or simply put: of creating a symbol:  “Your Partner in Technology”.

Today, GaMa has a network of 22 partners for Kodak kiosks throughout the country, as well as two new stores in Pétionville (HP and Kodak).  Currently, the GaMa Group features six business institutions: GaMa Consulting, GaMa Enterprises S.A., the Etre Aysien Foundation, the newspaper Le Defi, Etre Ayisyen Entrepeneurial Insitutute and KayTek Immobiliers (which focuses on construction and new technologies).

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

This year, GaMa celebrated its fifteenth year in existence.  Obviously we are turning towards the future.  We must consolidate and get a return from our capital.  We have a duty to continue distinguishing ourselves, to maintain our positive and exemplary image, and to safeguard the symbol which is GaMa.

Equally, in keeping with our goal to keep expanding the GaMa family, we are going to open up (make available) shares of the Group to hundreds of young Haitian entrepreneurs.  Because our dream is to promote and facilitate the emergence of a new generation of entrepreneur-leaders and responsible, active socio-economical agents.  In summary, we hope that GaMa will continue to inspire thousands of young Haitians, and hopes to continue to serve as a helpful and effective model for entrepreneurial development that may combat poverty.

What would be your advice to young people who want their careers and lives to have impact?

Don’t give up or extinguish your dreams.  Pursue them all the way.  Do not wait.  Get up, march, run, be entrepreneurs and together let us take up the challenge of BEING Haitian.


[1] CCIH- Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie d’Haiti; AMCHAM- American Chamber of Commerce Haiti, AHTIC….

NAAHP
NAAHP

National Alliance for the Advancement of Haitian Professionals

NAAHP is focused on connecting a global community of peers with career advancement resources as well as fostering transformative relationships to strengthen Haiti through philanthropy and social entrepreneurship.

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