ExtendedBITS: Building a bridge between Somaliland and Europe

Every month the VC4Africa team places a new venture in the spotlights. Now we will meet Hasan Giire, one of the founders of ExtendedBITS.

Can you please describe your venture?

ExtendedBITS is an international enterprise with the headquarter in the Netherlands and a software factory in Somaliland. Our business model is providing Dutch and later European companies with (extra) IT-resources. Our office in Somaliland employs young IT-professionals. Those specialists will be working as an extension for their Dutch clients. Our office in the Netherlands serves as the contact point for our clients. All agreement between our company and clients is subject to Dutch laws.

We strongly believe that quality software will drive development. The value of the finished product and the satisfaction of the client are based on the quality insurance throughout the entire project cycle: from requirements to design, from design to development and from development to acceptance of the product. Clear and transparent communication between the parties is therefore imperative. We are providing dedicated professionals for short and long periods of time.”

Can you explain about the current situation in Somaliland?

“Until 1960 Somaliland was a English colony. And when the area became independent from Britain, it was part of Somalia until 1991. After the civil wars in the country, Somaliland decided to be independent from the rest of the country but is not yet a recognized country by the international community. Most people are not aware that Somaliland is a stable country in the region, so they expect risks in investing in our company. We need to tell them about the situation and the fact that there is a local, good functioning government. To give an example, Coca-Cola, the world’s largest soft-drink maker, plans to set-up a bottling plant in the breakaway republic of Somaliland, saying its stability and economic growth provide “conducive” conditions for investment.

There is a free market in Somaliland; utilities like electricity and the telecommunication is in the hand of private companies. In every city, there is more than one company providing those services. Compared to other African countries, Somaliland possesses the best and cheapest rate for telecommunication  (telephone and internet) connection.  Also, the government stimulates business to flourish. The registration of a company can be done within three days. Most of African countries, registration of a company take something like 20 to 40 days.

The people of Somaliland decided to construct their country, set up schools and universities. Every region has one or more universities. Currently more than 2000 students graduate each year from those local universities and high education institutes. Life in there is pleasant if one have work and income. The weather is always good and the people are very friendly.”

Can you tell us about your cooperation with the Eelo University in Borama?

“Intellectuals from the Awdal region set up Eelo University in 2007 and it is specialized in the field of engineering. Our cooperation is the extension of IT-knowledge within the country. First; ExtendedBITS will be the future employer of the graduated students of Eelo University. In the second phase, we will provide extra curriculum activities to the students.”

Who are your clients?

“Our clients are small and medium size IT-companies in the Netherlands that are needing extra resources to implement projects in time. Currently Dutch companies complain about the lack of professional workers in the field of engineering and that is why they outsource the work to Indian or other firms to alleviate this situation. ExtendedBITS is capable to deliver quality, flexibility and cheap hourly rate. Our young professional are eager to establish a decent life in their country and are therefore willing to make the extra miles. The management of the company is from both The Netherlands and Somaliland.  We understand the language and business culture of both countries.”

What are the main questions possible investors have when you talk to them?

“Our strength is that we do not depend on external investments to start our business. At this moment we are about to start with our first assignment and the income of this project will cover our costs. But of course a financial injection will help us to grow more quickly and speed up the international certification process.”

How can members of VC4A contact you?

“Members can contact me via my VC4Africa profile, e-mail: hasan_giire [at] yahoo.com  or  info [at] extendedbits.com and skype: hasan.giire. Also see our website: http://www.extendedbits.com