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Ten-dar.com bridges digital divide

Ten-dar.com spokesperson Augustinus Poroto at Ten-dar Namibia’s offices in Windhoek said the challenge of the start-up is to persuade business owners of the obvious benefit of instantaneous access to information, in a procurement system that is inherently paper-based.

A digital start-up is making inroads into the growing e-commerce market by offering subscribers an up to date information service selling lists of all available tenders through its website ten-dar.com. In its first two years, the web-based service has already started undermining the traditional business model for tenders, which is still fully paper-based.
Ten-dar.com, a web-based solution for clients tracking tenders as they are issued, offers small and medium companies an email subscription notification to all jobs put out on tender. The teething business is unravelling some of the mystery associated with this emerging business model.

“The sight is now fully functional, currently we send out over 500 emails to different subscribers. In a week we are signing up 15 to 20 new clients” said the brain behind Ten-dar Namibia, Zambian-born Panashe Daringo, a civil engineering graduate from Tswane University in Pretoria.
He worked for Stefanutti Stocks, a construction company, for 7 years. “I started looking at this procurement process as I did tendering work at Stefanuti Stocks. In getting to understand the tendering process such as putting together a tender document, I worked my way up with various projects across the country. After initially being a site manager I got to run my own projects” he said.
Based on his understanding of what is required on site it became second nature understanding the tendering process and the bureaucratic hurdles to determine what must be on paper to conclude a successful tender.
“There is no real school on getting familiarised with the technicalities and process of submitting a tender.” He explained that the typical tendering process starts when the advert is placed. A document is then drafted stating specifications and pricing component before submission.
Ten-dar.com subscribers receive email notifications on specific industry tenders advertised in different media. Subscribers can sign up for one year or for three months.
This, he said, eliminates the process of having to filter newspapers and company websites everyday and making arrangements to complete and submit the required documentation.
The website further adds value by posting the opening prices of those companies that show interest. The subscriber also has the option of outsourcing its tendering work to ten-dar.com. “We started combining the process and requirements and how practical [this arrangement] is in fulfilling the clients needs.”
With an android application underway, subscribers are charged an all-inclusive fee of N$300 monthly with an upfront free two-week trial. Subscribers receive tender notifications via email with access to downloadable forms via desktop computer.
From his site experience, Daringo said he knows what is required on site and that this does not always correspond with the tendered specifications. “This can lead to delivering a product or services that is not up to scratch wasting tax payer money.”
“At the end of the day most of these are government tenders. If the service is not of a good quality, delivered late or is a half-hearted attempt, the tax payer loses. The root cause is that the money is not spent correctly” he said explaining the surge in clients looking for tendering advice. “There are people that get tenders and you never hear from them” he laments.
“We want to bring in an education seminar that tackles the entire tender process through a platform where people can learn and grow to provide more competitive pricing that is consistent.”
Daringo wants to change the perception in the business community that procurement is all about price fixing. He aims to do this by getting industry experts in behind the scenes of procurement after establishing a basic understanding to SMEs.
He noted that government processes are among the best in the world, citing efforts such as TIPEEG and Affirmative Action certification. “Most of the tenders require Previously Disadvantaged credentials, the problem arises when people do not understand the motive behind some of these basic requirements in fully grasping the opportunity to be successful in tendering.

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