Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a major role in Brunei’s industrial and economic growth. Most SMEs showcase their business or products at expos overseas.
Game On, an eSports Event Management Company in Brunei, was established by Amar Agus Din in 2016. Game On has hosted over 20 gaming events in Brunei. The company held the first Brunei eSports Tournament (BEST) in December 2017.
Game On was one of the three startups selected for the trip organised by Darussalam Enterprise (DARe) as part of the Startup Bootcamp Cycle 3 programme.
During the 10-day immersion programme in Jakarta and Bandung, Game On networked with Indonesian startups exchanging ideas on how to move forward in the gaming business. Mineski Indonesia, an eSports event organiser in Indonesia, gave them a back-stage tour on how to run an eSports event.
“My wish for the future is to create a ‘cohesive gaming community’ in Brunei, and my future plans include hosting more and larger gaming events. I hope I can expand my business to the rest of South East Asia,” said Amar.
Zul-Fadly Osman, founder of SoulKonekshen, spoke about his success and struggle in his KaPOW business selling homemade burgers. He began selling KaPOW burgers during the Gerai Ramadhan in 2009. Eventually the business picked up and KaPOW burgers were sold on weekends.
Due to family commitment, the business slowed down in 2013. Zul-Fadly set up his burger business at pop up events from late 2014 and a permanent burger stall in 2016. He moved before finally closing down in 2017.
He entered the DARe Startup Bootcamp Cycle 3 and was selected for the 10-day immersion programme in Jakarta and Bandung, Indonesia in 2018. The SoulKonekshen team met other startups and worked on pitch decks and scripts for the 1,000 Startup Demo Day. They attended two Startup Pitching competitions, Techsauce Global Summit from Bangkok, running its Indonesia roadshow and IDEA Jam Finalist Pitching Event.
In Bandung, the team set up a networking session with people from one of the most successful local franchises: Warunk Apnormal.
The franchise has 150 outlets since its first branch in Bandung four years ago. Zul-Fadly aspires to become a fast casual dining concept franchise that sells premium high quality burgers using organic ingredients catering to health conscious consumers.
BenchLab founder Wan Nurul Naszeerah is a Yale graduate who saw potential in young talented Bruneians who have spare time on weekends. BenchLab conducts workshops for participants to discover their skills and potentially turn it into a business.
The company joined DARe in February 2018. On April 1, 2018, BenchLab launched its first line of workshops featuring Bruneian talents as instructors. Within five months of operations, BenchLab has hosted more than 100 workshops, empowering more than 60 skilled instructors to gain experience and additional income, and enabling more than 300 individuals from Brunei and Malaysia to learn new skills.
The public’s response is overwhelming because people want to discover their skills and potentially turn into a business. “But it’s not all about cash,” Naszeerah said. “BenchLab is trying to help reduce unemployment in the country, and thus creating a positive social impact by helping youth to generate skills and talents to be more employable.”
BenchLab hopes to instill a culture of fun, learning and productivity on weekends for all in Brunei.
Sinar Tours broke a record attracting 10,000 South Koreans to Brunei within 12 months. The company is jointly owned by Hjh Normah Suria Hayati PJDSMDSU Dr Haji Awang Jamil Al-Sufri and James Park. They began the business by focussing on South Korean tourists. Only 2,871 were recorded in Brunei in 2015.
Sinar introduced chartered flights with Royal Brunei Airlines in December 2016, which ran for 12 months until the national carrier introduced Incheon as part of their scheduled flights at the end of 2017. According to statistics from the Tourism Development Department, Brunei received 3,551 tourists from South Korea in 2016, which swelled to 8,705 last year, arguably driven by Sinar Tour’s packages.
Sinar has marketed Brunei through Korean travel agents and marketing companies, who visited Brunei and later developed advertisement campaigns including television commercials.
Sinar’s three main packages to Korean tourists were scheduled around their chartered flights on Thursday and Sunday; offering three nights, four nights and a week-long stay at the Empire Hotel & Country Club, Parkview Hotel, Rizqun International Hotel or Centrepoint Hotel.
Visitors had the option to tour all four districts. In the capital, tourists visited mosques, Kampong Ayer, the Brunei Arts and Handicraft Training Centre, the Royal Regalia Museum and local restaurants, while their day trip Temburong involved rafting and the canopy walk at the Ulu Temburong National Park.
Visitors were also given the option to visit the Eco Ponies Garden in Tutong and oil monuments in Belait.
To support infrastructure for enterprise development as a long term sustainable economic development, LiveWIRE Brunei was established on May 1, 2001. LiveWIRE Brunei is a Social Investment Flagship of Brunei Shell Petroleum. Their workshops and programmes are open to citizens and permanent residents of Brunei. Among the workshops include Bright Ideas, Become a Succesful Owner and Manager Workshop, Business Plan Series, and Leadership Camp. Events such as the Business Awards and the subsequent Business Awards Start- up Funding Scheme (BASfs) were held to award and support potential entrepreneurs. SME’s Promotion was held to provide entrepreneurs with a venue to experience selling to the public.
At the beginning of 2018, The Business Awards Competition was completed. There were two categories: Category A (Business Plan) – LiveWIRE Programme Participants, and Category B (Enterprise) – LiveWIRE Business Start-Up (six months to three years in business). Category A winners were awarded for the feasibility and future potential of the business idea. Category B were awarded for the sustainability, good governance and growth potential for their existing Business. The announcement of the winners was made at the LiveWIRE Brunei Business Awards Prize Presentation Ceremony.
In continuing support for start-ups, five local entrepreneurs were provided funding under the LiveWIRE Business Awards Start-Up Funding Scheme (BASfs), an initiative by Brunei Shell Petroleum Company through LiveWIRE Brunei. The recipients received funding according to their start-up cost requirement. Hazeeyah Agro Farm received BND50,000; Santaiaje Niaga Enterprise received BND45,000; Pondok Selera Kitani received BND30,000; Al-Huffaz Management received BND20,000 and Roy’s Car Wash received BND10,000.
In August 2018, LiveWIRE Brunei held a Bright Ideas workshop at the School of Energy and Engineering Central, Institute of Brunei Technical Education (IBTE). The workshop, cohosted by IBTE and LiveWIRE, was participated by 50 IBTE students. The workshop was intended to motivate and guide students to start their own business as an alternative to finding jobs.
In September 2018, LiveWIRE conducted the Business Plan Series Workshop. A total of 27 candidates applied for Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah’s entrepreneurship aid. This workshop was the last phase for the participants before entering the Welfare Financing Scheme of Yayasan. It is hoped that the cooperation between LiveWIRE Brunei and Yayasan can generate more committed and dedicated entrepreneurs.
From November 5, 2018 to November 8, 2018, the Become a Successful Owner and Manager Workshop was held at Design and Technology building under Darussalam Enterprise. The workshop consisted guest speakers ranging from government agencies, banks and entrepreneurs sharing knowledge and experience about doing business in Brunei.
From November 23, 2018 to November 25, 2018, the Leadership Camp was conducted at Trandie Marina Resort for IBTE students, Yayasan staff, and members of the public. This programme was designed to develop one’s leadership and team building skills.
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