While essential for fostering a safe working environment, Facility Management and Maintenance remains an underdeveloped sector in Somaliland. This led Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed to start his company, SMART, with the purpose of ensuring health and safety for employees and employers alike. SMART maintains and manages buildings, keeping them in good shape and safe to work in. SMART also foresees the maintenance budget dealing with handling utility bills, budget for maintenance repairs and costs related to the upkeep of the building.
Business owner Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed grew up in Utrecht, the Netherlands and studied IT in college. Before starting his own company, Ahmed gained experience as a back office support staff and also worked at a call centre and several factories and warehouses. With SMART being less than a year old, Ahmed is still taking on most aspects of the business by himself. He is currently in the process of creating a marketing strategy, weaving through the legal hurdles, and claiming responsibility for finances. Ahmed expressed he has come across many difficulties in the process of establishing SMART. Being a small business, Ahmed was surprised to see SMART face cash flow problems already. He points out that Somaliland is a challenging terrain with exaggerated bureaucracy and a lack of information available; explaining further that, “there is a lack of support for startups.” SPARK is now helping Ahmed through these initial setbacks by guiding him through necessary bureaucratic processes. The most serious issue Ahmed has had to deal with so far is the need for skilled workers who are competent in maintenance work. To tackle this problem, Ahmed is currently prioritizing providing training for his staff. Regardless of these hindrances, Ahmed is up for the challenge. He is determined to build a strong reputation for providing quality services and, in the near future, expanding his client base to more regions of Somaliland.
What is your personal ambition?
Facility Management is an important sector but it is not fully developed in Somaliland currently. It's important to provide workers with a safe and secure environment where they can work. Health and safety is very important and SMART believes in giving workers and employers alike, a safe working environment.
What impact do you see your business making?
My business will have a direct impact on the community by providing safe and secure working environments as well as through contributing to the development of the Facility Management and Maintenance sector in Somaliland.
How do you see the future of your business?
The most important thing for my business is to have a good reputation. I would like to broaden my business activities and therefore have access to the investment required to grow my business. I would like to establish offices in the different regions of Somaliland to get a wider reach of clients and market base. I would also like to offer shares to potential partners to finance the purchasing of vehicles, equipment and materials. My business can be improved with better skilled workers, so of course training of staff is very important and a key priority for me and the future of SMART. Another important area for improvement in the near future is marketing. Better marketing would allow SMART to grow.