Raymonde Verna was losing business.
As the director of COPROFER Kenbe, a national cooperative of wire and iron workers in business since 1980, she had the resources to compete for international contracts. The problem was the format of international tenders, which was very different from that of local Haitian companies in terms of everything from price lists to payment schedules.
“Even when we had the goods these organizations wanted, we were not winning contracts,” Verna (shown left) explained from her office in Port-au-Prince.
That changed when Verna attended one of PDT’s three-hour procurement training sessions, which teach local businesses about the rules and procedures of international tenders. As in the case of COPROFER Kenbe, participating companies or cooperatives often have the resources to execute international contracts but lack the technical knowledge to negotiate the complex bidding process.
“The training not only showed us the international procurement requirements, it also taught us how to tailor our business practices to adhere to them. Once we started doing this, we were immediately able to start bidding competitively for contracts.”
COPROFER Kenbe has since filled orders for such agencies as Caritas Suisse and the UN International Organization for Migration. For a cooperative that supports 227 artisan groups throughout the country, this is no small feat.
“We support the poorest of the poor—rural peasants who can barely make a living,” Verna said. “When we win contracts, the effect is felt all the way from Cap Haitian to Les Cayes to the Central Plateau.
“Thanks to PDT,” she added, “we’ve been able to provide jobs and dignity.”
Tags : entrepreneurship Haiti PDM-H team Procurement
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