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Curing Poverty Through Enterprise

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The poor know concrete…

In developing nations many of the homes and buildings are built with concrete or some type of cement-based materials. Unfortunately, people with very little money make some of the world’s poorest concrete.

Cement Bag and blockRegardless, they have years of experience building with these materials. If they use their skill correctly they can make their lives better with the materials that they know best. This skill and good tools can combine to elevate many out of the grip of poverty.

Turn what they know into income…
The easiest way out of poverty is to take an existing skill and turn it into a regular income. Investing in Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) leverages these skill sets to improve living conditions for
entire communities. The entrepreneurial spirit of the skill-based SME spreads the income between many workers and provides a prescription to help to solve poverty on a larger scale.

Stop a terrible cycle…
Poverty has created a situation where skill is trumped by reality. Because of the lack of funds, skilled concrete workers are forced to improvise and use shovels to mix concrete on the ground. This mixing system creates poor quality block, concrete and mortar, which in turn creates weak structures that fail and need replacing after every disaster or storm. This repeating cycle can be stopped if some simple equipment is introduced into the process. The industrialized world stopped this cycle with mechanical mixing devices.Plans for Concrete MD A group of small and medium concrete services could put an end to the failing concrete and devastation in poor countries as well.

Small and Medium Concrete Services…
With the goal to Build Back Better and a desire to decentralize the rebuilding efforts, it is logical to create small and medium sized enterprises that meet these objectives. Many small
concrete services can produce quality ready-mix, concrete building block and other construction materials for their own towns or neighborhoods.
Decentralized Concrete Services
Entrepreneurs will create a living wage for many workers as they supply the concrete to construction projects in all corners of the country. Further, the building material supply chain will be enhanced as these concrete SME’s establish locations closer to the communities that they serve.

Examples of Concrete Services:
• Ready-mix concrete production
• Concrete block (CMU) manufacturing
• Concrete placement and finishing
• Masonry installation
• Concrete and masonry trades training
• Debris removal and recycling

Small and Medium Ready-mix Production…
Even the simplest permanent housing design includes a concrete foundation. Most specify a slab of concrete as the flooring system on which the structure is anchored. Some use additional concrete for columns or walls.

Concrete MDA small ready-mix enterprise could easily supply several of these foundations and other needs each day. Using a simple hand-loaded mechanical mixer, a crew of 4 to 6 workers could supply quality concrete to homeowners or to a concrete finishing crew.
During a community rebuilding effort,
one or two small ready-mix crews could quickly move up rows of homes, producing batch after batch of material for other crews to finish.
Concrete Cube Logo
A medium sized ready-mix enterprise would use a increased capacity mechanical mixer and support the work with a tractor to improve efficiency. Mixers with the capability to produce a cubic meter at a time will allow the mid-size entrepreneur to complete more foundations or concrete pours each day. Each developing country has thousands of homes that need concrete for floors and walls. Many of these homes are planned to be built in communities without access to any concrete services.

With these ambitious targets, there will be many business opportunities in the ready-mix production sector for motivated entrepreneurs. As the NGO’s, banking and government groups work together to establish SME’s in concrete services, thousands of workers will have the ability to lift their local economies using current skills.

Small and Medium Block Manufacturing…

Concrete Block MoldConcrete Masonry Units or CMU’s are the most common building block for construction. Thousands of workers know how to build using these products. The problem is that once you travel out away from populated areas, the quality of the blocks drops dramatically.

Quality CMU’s are produced with a standard recipe of coarse sand, cement and extreme pressure. The machinery to produce a quality block can be simple or very sophisticated. Small concrete block manufacturing operations can produce a quality block if it is done correctly. The problem is that currently many do the material mixing on the ground and skimp on powdered cement. Then instead of using mechanical pressure, they form the blocks by hand.

By allowing entrepreneurs access to the correct equipment to mix and compress blocks, the home builders would receive better CMU’s to work with. In addition, the block supply chain would benefit from a decentralized manufacturing network that would allow smaller communities to be supported by local SME’s. Larger towns or regions can be supplied by expanded block manufacturers with a medium sized operation.

Concrete Block WallSecuring the concrete block manufacturing equipment will require a significant investment between various factions in order to support individual business people. But the market for block will require that hundreds of thousands of CMU’s be produced for many years to come. Block manufacturing facilities will employ thousands of workers to keep up with the demand. When commercial and industrial buildings are included the numbers will really climb for this product sector.

Materials Delivery…
Dump TruckThere are a several supply chain business opportunities that will naturally spring-up from both ready-mix production and block manufacturing. These include the delivery of Portland cement bags and the mining and delivery of sand and rock. As the specifications for quality raw materials improve, there will be many jobs created to screen and size the raw sand and rock prior to delivery. Cement bagging operations are generally centralized and owned by multinational firms, but still employ many local workers.

All of these products will require trucking resources to move the supplies to the end users. We foresee a vibrant trucking opportunity in the rural areas of the country, just to supply ready-mix and block production.

Concrete Placement and Finishing…

In the industrialized world contractors or for-hire businesses
 Trowelleverage their skills in the building trades into business ventures. The home construction segment is a combination of for-hire built and self-construction projects. SME’s that support the building of homes, schools, churches and other small to mid-sized projects should find plenty of opportunity during the rebuilding cycle.
Some of the entrepreneurs may combine ready-mix production and concrete for hire businesses under one umbrella.

Masonry Installation…
There will be an enormous number of block projects completed in all corners of the country; there should be many opportunities for skilled masons to find work. Some may also follow the contracting/for-hire path into a SME. Masonry projects of almost any size will require hiring several workers and can only add to the employment rolls.

Concrete and Masonry Trade Schools…
Construction ModelOne of the stated goals of the international development community is to improve the education and skills of the people. Following a disaster, bad concrete and masonry work get's a great deal of attention. This issue is fertile ground for those who wish to improve the quality of these cement-based trades.

SME’s that are focused on vocational or peer to peer training in concrete production, construction engineering, masonry application or building design should have a strong market for students.

Engineering and construction graduates from the University system should be given the entrepreneurial opportunity to train the next generation of skilled construction workforce.

Concrete Debris Removal and Recycling…
Following the January 2010 Haiti quake there were millions of cubic meters of rubble to be removed, recycled and then reused. Forward thinking entrepreneurs can use modern tools and equipment to form unique SME’s to address this issue. Already there are many paid employment opportunities in this space, but many more could be created by these businesses.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs…
In Haiti, the plan is to rebuild the infrastructure, roads, buildings and homes using the Haitian people. The five-year goal is 400,000 permanent housing units and 500,000 construction jobs. Most of these homes and those jobs will fit within the current skill of the Haitian workforce. They will just need some assistance to move the plan forward. The same development process will work in most emerging countries.

What Can We Do?
The list of issues and roadblocks to building better homes may seem long and everyone knows that some things will take many years to complete. But one thing is true: the poor know concrete and they understand cement-based construction. It is time to give these skilled workers the tools, training and help that will allow them to rebuild their country with their own hands. We can provide them with the opportunity to profit from several Small and Medium Concrete Enterprises.
Cart-Away Concrete Mixing Experts

Cart-Away’s Skill-Set…
Our equipment design and manufacturing team is uniquely qualified to assist in this process. For over 17 years we have lead the small and medium concrete mixer industry in the USA. We have assisted hundreds of entrepreneurs to enter or to improve their businesses using specialized concrete mixing equipment and services. Our team includes skilled engineers, manufacturing experts and experienced marketers. We have designed and sent into service thousands of pieces of equipment for the ready mix concrete industry. We have created business operational manuals and training courses to support varying concrete business systems. Our staff includes experts in supply chains, concrete precasting, construction management and business management. It is our intention to combine our skill with government or nongovernment organizations to benefit the Haitian concrete construction industry. We can do something to help Haiti build back better. Reach out to us today; we want to help…

Contact Bruce Christensen of the
Cart-Away Project Haiti team. or 503-434-4444 (Portland, Oregon)
Phone 1-888-648-5464
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