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From Chancery Lane to Ainaro – The Need for Information Is Still The Same.

It’s a long commute from my old office in Chancery Lane, London in the UK, to the town of Ainaro, Timor-Leste, especially when you throw in a quick stop over at my parents’ sheep and cattle farm in south-eastern New South Wales, Australia for a stint working in the shearing shed. But that’s how it happened that, after my initial thought of working in a developing country 12 months ago, I found myself in Ainaro with my new work colleagues from Peace Dividend Trust.

Upon our arrival my team took me to the business place of Mr Mario Nunes Ximenes Carvalho, an old acquaintance of the “Buy Local. Build Timor-Leste” Business Portal. He had already registered his construction business, Haburas Saray Construction Lda, online with us in July 2008. We were informed that it had been a successful period for Mr Nunes Ximenes Carvalho since PDT’s last visit, winning contracts with Governmental Departments, INGOs such at the World Food Program (WFP) and private enterprises such as Tobisima.

One of the PDM-TL verification staff members, Mr Baptista da Silva, interviews Mr Nunes Ximenes Carvalho as an employee watches on.

However, the news that I found most exciting was that Mr Nunes Ximenes Carvalho had opened a new carpentry business, Carpentaria Hatleolana Unipessoal, last year. Yes, you’re probably thinking, that’s great that he’s expanding, and I think that also. But really, what caught my attention, was why he set the new business up.

He explained to our team that the idea came as a result of the information he had been receiving from PDM-TL about the new business opportunities in the Ainaro district. It was simple; there were lots of construction companies to build the buildings but not many carpentry businesses to manufacture the fittings and furniture to go in them! As a result, he now employs a further 6 employees through his carpentry business, on top of the 5 he had already employed through his construction company.

Ainaro businessman, Mr Mario Nunes Ximenes Carvalho.

As was mentioned in an earlier blog by Senior Advisor to Peace Dividend Trust Edward Rees, the Timorese are only to aware that information is power. Carpentaria Hatleolana Unipessoal is just another example of the importance of projects such as PDM-TL that continue to provide the information that Timorese businesses can use to take advantage of the opportunities that arise as public spending and the development dollars continue to role into Timor-Leste.

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4 Comments

  1. Edward Rees says:

    Heidi. Cool, but when you find the time, maybe you could blog about the contracts he has won from WFP and Tobisima? E

  2. Edward Rees says:

    Heidi, According to Wikipedia, Berridale has a population of 884 people! Thats makes Ainaro look like a big city in comparison. E

  3. Sherrie Zollinger says:

    Ah, but Edward, now Heidi is almost within spitting distance of home rather than 1/2 way ’round the world. There must be some benefit in that … it’s a shorter long distance call home? ;-))

    BTW – who wouldn’t want to increase their business to a point that would support an 83% increase in employees. I think it seriously validates that there is local business and economic success to be had when there is a “portal” for connection and that the portal is of significant value to the businesses that receive the contracts. GREAT JOB!!

    In view of these types of successes and the current and future funding issues, how can this obviously successful model be adapted to be sustainable beyond the aid stage? Some kind of paid membership perhaps?Perhaps paid on both sides … businesses who are looking for good/services also benefit, don’t they, since it is less expensive and less hassle (import duties, shipping, etc) for them to buy locally and local businesses benefit as well, obviously! Perhaps a small percentage of the value of the contract? Perhaps there is no fee to the business receiving the contract until they have succcessfully secured and delivered their first one. (Prooof to them that it works.)

    Thanks for keeping us informed about your successes in Timor-Leste and other places in the world.

  4. Edward Rees says:

    Sherrie, The Timorese business community is not ready for such things I am afraid. In a few years perhaps. Edward

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