When Lourdyne Décilon was still at school, her father thought he detected the seed of entrepreneurship in his 14-year-old daughter – and agreed to allow her to work in the family business making local delicacies for a maximum of two hours a day.
Paul Lavaud had set up Boss Lavo Production Douce Macoss with an agronomist friend in 1980, and it had gradually become a staple of the community in Petit Goave, making delicious douce makos, cremas, jams, honey syrup, pistachio nut biscuits, and a range of other firm favourites.
The more time Décilon spent involved in the business, the more attached she became to it. So when her father moved abroad, and during that time her mother became ill and increasingly paralysed, Décilon became by default the person at the helm of the busy little enterprise.
Despite her youth, she thrived on it, starting early and finishing late every day. When she inherited the company from her father, she spread manufacture of the different products over a number of her employees’ locations, improving efficiency, and now has a workforce of 14, selling directly or to a network of supermarkets.
In the future, Décilon sees the business with a large number of small outlets dotted across the country. In the short term, she plans to computerize the accounts to improve her grasp on the finances, and to make her products more distinctive. “To me, this is not just a business – it is my living heritage”, she says.