An SME in Samarai, Milne Bay Province, recently re-establish themselves, using an age old tradition, as a means to sustain their livelihoods in their village.
Saeya Builders of Sariba Island, in the Samarai-Murua District of Milne Bay Province, are a boat building SME and they build boats out of wood. “It hasn’t been an easy task to re-establish the business,” said Manager of Saeya Builders, Mr Kenneth Imorudi.
“There were quite a lot challenges over the years with Saeya builders that forced us to shut down business.”
“But we decided to give it another go again, to start out building wooden boat and this time, we hope to use our recently established social media platform, to promote and market Saeya Builders.”
Wooden boat building is a popular occupation that is unique to Milne Bay Province.
“The way we build boats and the materials we use, are all part of a traditional art of boat building that is a special skill that is passed down through families, from father to son,” said Mr Imorudi, explaining how he learned the traditional art of wooden boat building from his father.
Saeya Builders, like any other SME in the country, has suffered the devastating effects of doing business in this pandemic era and they have had to become creative in doing business.
“What we do is, we allow people to come to us with their budget and we build a boat, according to their budget,” said Mr Imorudi.
“We understand that is hard to find money during this time and we also need the business as well, so we have had to come up with such a business strategy, so that our business stays afloat, while also catering to the needs of our clients.”
“The last quarter of the year has been very good for us, since we started out building our wooden boats again.”
“We are currently building a couple of boats right now and we hope to use our social media platform, to pull in more clients,” said Mr Imorudi.
Saeya Builders build all their boats from wood that is sourced locally, on their island home and the engines are ordered overseas.
“We are a family oriented, village based business and so we have to be a self-sustaining unit and with family members with hands on deck, I feel we do a very good job of working together,” said Mr Imorudi.
“It is important to keep this business going because it ensures that we keep the traditional art of building wooden boats alive, while also earning an income and it is very encouraging to see so many of our young gathering around when you are working on a wooden boat, watching, learning and even getting in and helping us with little tasks to help build the boat… This is what will keep this traditional art alive and we hope they too, will continue to use boat building, to sustain themselves in the future,” Mr Imorudi concluded.