Building Markets’ Services Work, Just Ask Covenant Ventures
Building Markets works regularly with hundreds of businesses with varying degrees of business acumen. A few stand out above the rest, one of which is Covenant Ventures Corporation.
Founded in 2009, Covenant Ventures began their rental service with just one Ford pick-up and two employees. Although business was lucrative, the company found it challenging to win large contracts.
In 2012, Mr. P.S. Moneyman King, the Operations Manager of Covenant Ventures, came across the SMI-L signboard on 9th street and stopped by the office. After learning of SMI-L services, he enrolled in general procurement and advanced bid compilation training.
“Training was very helpful. I was making mistakes when rushing to submit a bid, like forgetting to sign or stamp it. That costs you a lot to overlook,” King explained. “We learned the process and learned to bid on time, not to procrastinate. We definitely won more bids after training.” Since King attended training, he sent three of his female managers to procurement training.
With additional help from Building Markets’ Tender Distribution Service (TDS), Covenant Ventures won six contracts worth $773,670 from buyers such as UNMIL, Save the Children and the Liberia Teacher Training Program. After winning these contracts, Covenant Ventures updated and renovated their facilities, extended the office, acquired more workers (currently the company has 30 permanent staff) and expanded into construction, including renting equipment, digging latrines and wells, and other small projects, such as putting up fencing at Spriggs Payne airport.
In addition to training, Covenant Ventures participates in matchmaking events, including the first MSME Conference and Trade Fair, which Building Markets co-hosted with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and other partners in April 2013. The trade fair showcased 50 top MSMEs, including Covenant Ventures. Mr. King says the company made business contacts and won $61,370 of contracts as a direct result of the conference.
“After the conference I have won big contracts because of the people I met there,” said Mr. King. “USAID FED is one example. I provided them rental cars in the counties. They keep calling me back.”
About six months after the conference, Mr. King received a call from an unknown foreign number. It was the British Geological Service, who needed a rental service for a one-week visit to Liberia. The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) met King at the conference and had passed their contact information along. King sent an invoice via email and the company was awarded the contract.
“I’ve learned to always answer strange numbers. You never know,” King said. It turns out the Geological Service tried contracting four other Liberian businesses, none of whom responded.
Covenant Ventures is a great example of why businesses in Liberia need to be proactive if they want to get ahead. One of the best ways to do so is to utilize Building Markets, which for Covenant Ventures resulted in $860,139 of contracts since 2012.