SMI-L Boosts a Carpentry Business
Daniel Scott’s carpentry business, called Scott’s Industrial Construction, has come a long way since he inherited it from his father in 2006. At the time Scott was still in school studying building construction and engineering. After years of inactivity due to the war, Scott and his cousins re-opened the family business. One year later, Scott started his own woodshop.
Since then, Scott’s business has done fairly well. Building Markets’ USAID Sustainable Marketplace Initiative Liberia (SMI-L) has given it a boost toward sustainability.
Through SMI-L’s tender distribution service, Scott receives tender alerts via SMS and email. In addition, Scott attended several SMI-L training sessions, including general procurement, financial management, and a specialized training geared toward suppliers on UNICEF’s vendor list. Scott was recently shortlisted to UNICEF’s list, which is a long and complicated process. These trainings taught Scott how to properly write a bid document and how to write a business plan. Scott said he had never been taught about procurement before. “The training built my capacity and is an added advantage [to my company],” he said.
After attending procurement training and receiving tender alerts, Scott won three contracts. The first was a contract with PCI Liberia for school blackboards worth $16,800. This contract directly led to a second contract worth $5,850 for writing slates. “[PCI Liberia] spoke of my quality of work,” Scott said. “Since then, I have done some small works for them at request.”
Shortly thereafter, Scott won a contract with UNDP for $47,175 to produce furniture. According to prices on the bid documents, Scott was the third choice supplier, but when UNDP visited the first two businesses they lacked the capacity and storage. Scott was then called in and given the contract.
Contracts enable Scott to hire temporary workers, many of whom are the same individuals. Currently he has eight full-time employees. Two of these employees are apprentices. “Given the need for capacity building, I intend to bring some of my employees to the Building Markets’ training,” Scott said. Additionally, he’d like to expand his facility and hire more people, including an accountant.
He still faces challenges, in particular accessing a loan and building capacity in his staff, including himself. “Building Markets financial management training taught me how to do a business plan,” Scott said. “It was very helpful, but I have limitations. I was not schooled in financial management and accounting.”
Scott said he would like to partner more with Building Markets to help his business grow. “I’m happy with our relationship with Building Markets,” he said. “I’m exposed to networking and tenders. I look forward to building the capacity of me and my staff further.”