Building a successful sawmilling business in the DRC

Flitches off a heavy hardwood log from Scierie Glory’s Wood-Mizer LT40.

Press Office: Wood-Mizer

An inspiring story is emerging of an enterprising sawmiller from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) that encouraged her husband, family and Africa to rise above tradition and poverty and embrace opportunity for a better life.

Ville de Kolwezi or Kolwezi, the capital city of the Lualaba Province in the south of the DRC, is built on mining.

Its roots go back to the establishment of the first copper mines by Gecamines SA’s predecessor, Union Minière du Haut-Katangahe in the 1930s.

Decades of copper mining fast-tracked Kolwezi’s s growth, but it’s the current demand for cobalt, a by-product of copper, has taken the town’s development forward.

Uncapped demand for cobalt by the global telecommunications, aerospace, defence, energy, electronics, and transportation sectors, has added much needed momentum to Kolwezi’s economy and with that new opportunities that entrepreneurs from there can now pursue.

It’s in the demand for Kolwezi’s minerals that Scierie Glory operates.

Despite its recent start, Scierie Glory has expanded fast, the sawmill currently operating six Wood-Mizer sawmills to supply mining, construction and manufacturing businesses with sawn timber.

But these successes didn’t just happen overnight.

It took a woman’s eye for opportunity and strength to build a business and forge a team that could exploit the gaps in the market to make Scierie Glory flourish.

Florance Sabwe Rashidi started Scierie Glory. She then inspired her public servant husband, Asewani Rashidi and Co-Director of the business to join her.

She also coaxed her mother, and elder sister to become part of the team business that now has four branches in Kolwezi and Kinshasa.

But then it went even further. Florance has also single-handedly reshaped the male dominated sawmilling sector in the DRC.

And she didn’t do it by eroding the role of men. Instead, she built mutual respect and encouraged discussion that now sees the best decisions irrespective of gender giving direction to businesses like Scierie Glory and flourishing.

This message also encourages sawmillers across Africa to forge a new path. A journey that sees male and female sawmillers joining hands to takes ownership of Africa’s timber resources instead of exporting logs for beneficiation elsewhere.

Build sawmilling business that prosper, partner with sawmilling suppliers like Wood-Mizer that can grow businesses over time, as they grow. Suppliers that have the service network in place to support sawmillers instead of once-off transactions that sees sawmillers stranded afterwards without any support from now absent suppliers.

Wood-Mizer’s branch in the DRC and its dealership network in important markets like Kinshasa and Kolwezi now foster and support countless sawmills in the DRC to prosper, and in doing so changing lives, creating jobs, building factories where manufacturing can start.

And when forests grow businesses, people value and protect forests instead just selling for exports and the DRC, and its people ending up with nothing.

Take the glory road, start sawmilling, partner with reliable suppliers and build winning businesses for life.

Watch on YouTube: