When I graduated university with a degree in electrical engineering, I never thought I would eventually run a steel construction company. The main reason I switched to this sector was opportunity: With few jobs in my discipline, I had to look elsewhere.
I first took a quality control position working mostly with steel construction companies. In 2016, I used my experience to found my own business, Professional Construction Company (PCC), which manufactures steel frames, tanks, and containers. When I started the firm, it was just me and one other employee, and we would bring in other workers for fixed periods depending on the numbers of projects we managed. As our workload increased, we added 15 new employees, split between our workshop and construction sites.
PCC grew consistently until the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The first three months of the pandemic were very difficult for us and the whole industry. During this critical time, my priority was paying my employees’’ salaries and covering our fixed costs. We had no orders from our clients, and nobody knew when this nightmare would end.
I heard about the COVID-19 Enterprise Recovery Fund established by the US government through USAID Tunisia JOBS on the radio. I applied and fortunately received a grant, which helped me purchase a new cutting machine and safety equipment, such as protective gear for my team. Meanwhile, I was able to provide my employees with training in computer skills and English, equipping them to better operate professional software and interact with foreign partners.
JOBS’ grant came at the perfect time, As the market began to gradually recover, I was able to bounce back and take on new projects. As a result of JOBS’ support, I have been able to grow my team to 25 employees.
Anis Samet – Professional Construction Company