Like many in Türkiye, Samer Hejazi’s life has been dramatically transformed since the earthquakes in February 2023. Samer owns Elhamwi Company in Gaziantep, which sells food, utensils, and cleaning supplies. Over the years, he has earned a positive reputation in Gaziantep for his reliability, punctuality, and trustworthiness, which has forged strong business relationships.
After the earthquakes, Samer knew he wanted to help his community and quickly adjusted his operations to meet local needs. Despite no prior experience working in the humanitarian sector, he started selling food products to aid organizations to help with relief. Then, with a few small contracts under his belt and positive experience, he decided he could pursue bigger contract opportunities through tenders.
But what is a tender? The procurement process within the humanitarian sector was entirely new to Samer. Aid organizations release calls for tenders, which are invitations to submit a bid to implement a specific project. In order to navigate this new vocabulary and procurement process, Samer turned to Building Markets, where we make thousands of tenders visible to small businesses through an online tender directory and train small businesses on how to apply.
“After my first experience, I was very encouraged and started applying for tenders. I have learned a lot [about working with the humanitarian sector] and have subsequently submitted applications for large tenders,” Samer said.
It has been a steep learning curve, but Samer, driven by his desire to help his community recover and rebuild, has embraced the challenge. After the February earthquakes, Elhamwi Company won their first contract through the tender process to supply food, soap, and other kitchen supplies for relief efforts. After securing their first contract, Samer was able to win additional contracts, bringing the total value of all contracts to $1.8 million USD, allowing Samer to create new jobs, raising his number of employees from 10 to 15.
Samer credits the support he received from Building Markets, connecting him to new opportunities and providing the training needed to win larger contracts and grow his business. He’s now applying for other major tenders, finding that his company is a perfect match for many upcoming projects in Gaziantep and the surrounding regions.
As Türkiye prepares to rebuild after the February earthquakes, businesses like Samer’s will be critical to support its recovery. As Samer and other entrepreneurs like him win more and more contracts, we’ll see jobs created and lives improved, right alongside new buildings and roads.
Samer is proud of his company’s growing notoriety, and optimistic that he’ll win even more tenders through Building Market’s online platform in the future. He explained that being a part of Building Markets’ businesses directory was crucial in establishing relationships that will help localize supply chains because emergency response organizations, some unfamiliar with the Turkish context, also rely on Building Markets’ extensive database.
Learn more about businesses like Samer’s via our global business directory: https://buildingmarkets.org/listings/ and search for big opportunities like the one Samer landed via our global tender directory: https://buildingmarkets.org/tenders/.
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