Selected 2009

Sidnei Borges dos Santos

  • Current company BS Construtora
  • Location Brazil

At least seven million low-income families in Brazil lack homes. Fortunately, help may be on the way. Husband and wife partners Sidnei and Eliane are confronting the housing deficit through their company BS Construtora, which offers an innovative process for constructing, delivering, and assembling complete pre-cast, low- to middle-income houses in just 24 hours. Their low turnaround time has given them an advantage over competitors, who typically require at least 20 days to build similar housing. Based in the small city of Sorriso (Mato Grosso state), a poor region in the Midwest of Brazil bereft of infrastructure and a skilled workforce, BS Construtora has distinguished itself by providing affordable housing solutions while offering much-needed jobs and employee training.

Born to a humble family in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina, Sidnei began working as a mason’s assistant at the age of 16. At 19, without any formal training, he left home for a job as a foreman in a cousin’s construction company in the midwestern city of Sorriso. When that company went bankrupt right in the midst of an important project, Sidnei decided to start his own construction company thinking that he could do a better job of project management. Concerned that his own company could similarly fall victim to financial difficulties, Sidnei brought in his new wife and trained accountant, Eliane. With Sidnei’s industry expertise and vision, and Eliane’s confidence and ambition, the couple founded BS Construtora in 1994 and developed it into a small but successful business producing silos and warehouses. By 2001, BS Construtora had developed a region-wide reputation for high-quality work.

In 2005, Sidnei and Eliane reached a turning point in their business. Several large Brazilian companies had started to bring their expanding operations to Brazil’s Midwest, generating an average of 18,000 jobs per year. Sidnei and Eliane quickly recognized that with the right technology, the market opportunity for civil construction was tremendous. Sorriso’s lack of basic infrastructure (especially homes) meant that companies needed housing for new employees, and fast. Over the next several years, Sidnei worked arduously to apply the lessons learned from over a decade in construction and large-scale projects. With Eliane managing the financial and commercial aspect of the business’ new direction, Sidnei developed and fine-tuned an innovative technology that led to faster-drying concrete – down from the industry standard 12 hours to just 8 hours. He then also created a streamlined process for building pre-cast homes out of individual room modules, which could be easily transported to any given client site. After three years of development, Sidnei finalized a sophisticated cast that produced high-quality, thermally comfortable, and environmentally-sound rooms complete with fixtures for electric installations, plumbing, lights, windows, and doors. When the dust settled, Sidnei and Eliane had invented a way to deliver ten houses a day, without sacrificing quality.

With the introduction of funding for homes without asphalt, Sidenei and Eliane can expect to see an even greater increase in productivity. A huge company, itself built from scratch, BS Contrutora is building infrastructure in Brazil that could ultimately have tremendous impact throughout Latin America.

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