Fire safety order

Certification only applies to buildings with 200 occupants…. So if a commercial building applies to the property manager. But then property manager might have to enforce on tenants or provide for them.
http://bt.com.bn/news-national/2016/04/18/%E2%80%98fso-application-will-not-affect-business%E2%80%99

Government launches a business help desk

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This is another good step in creating a better business environment. In any good business practice, they allow for customers to give info on what could be improved. But an online help desk would probably be best. Something that can be organized online of previous questions were asked, and the relevent answers. Something like Google help or Facebook help. So people dont have to visit a physical location, just go online, and search for answers. I realize that I myself could probably try it on this website. Check out my previous posts on SME related info, but if you have any questions, just ask in the comments and I will try to answer best I can.
I guess most of us are not online, or are used to searching info online, so this offline helpdesk will cater to those people’s need.
I haven’t gone there and checked it myself yet, but if you do, please provide info on what you think about it.
Till then, do what you love, and get wealthy doing it.

Update! 2016 Sept 9

This has been up for a while, only managed to remember to update now. This is actually online already. Just click the link below.

http://business.gov.bn/businesshelpdesk/Home.aspx 

biz_helpdesk_small

Enterprise open day

Participated in the enterprise open day that was organized by the government. It was last minute for me, but hey, I am last minute man myself. Plus all I had to do was man a station,  although I had to postpone some other affairs.
It was good to see and meet the government agencies relevent to business in Brunei. I will report some of my findings here.
I went to the the ease of doing business unit, where they research about the business application process in Brunei, they were also displaying the ease of doing business report 2015 that was done by the world Bank. Overall they shared that the proses from business name registration to business license, that is to have a business legally running has generally been reduced from a two month process a few years back down to 14 days now. My opinion not as good as some other countries, but still very good improvement for Brunei. I forgot how our ranking was,  but i seem to remember that our ranking went down despite our improvements. But i think that is only because other countries have improved better than we have. I asked about the general processes now, and they were quite proud and promising of the changes. That is good to have, a positive bias,  hope makes us think we can do better,  and therefore we can improve.

On to wawasan 2035 unit. They had a goal of being top 10 gdp in the world. Not being a top student in school, I actually disliked the pressure of being at the top,  I was a good student. Not a great one.  I shared my thoughts on my disagreement with the goal on how wouldn’t it be good enough to improve? why is it necessary to be on top,  but the exhibitor and I had a debate on the necessity of such goals. Keep in mind it is my opinion,  that it is good enough that we improve, not that important to be at the top. But she was defensive in pointing out the country needs that goal in order to bring us out of deficit and into prosperity, to attract foreign direct investments and so on. Her colleague briefly shared that the goals were more on being competitive and about looking good.  I agreed with that. Again I compare the analogy of school.  Most top students may want to be competitive in order to look good against the other students, for their teachers and their parents, or to maybe even get a scholarship (insert analogy of FDI here). I only disagree with the zero sum game of such strategies, we can be at the top by pulling people down, and other people can bring us down intentionally or not, by just being slightly better than us. For me it is good enough to improve.  There is no need for comparison with others, only with yourself. The exhibitors were quite defensive of their goals,  which for competitive purposes may be adequate. They will need that stubborn spirit to persuade others to commit to the ranking goals.

BruIPO or the Brunei intellectual property office was there to share info about intellectual property and how to register for them,  they shared that some people still have confusion on IP. For example, the difference between parents,  trademark and copyright.  Some people often used the words interchangeably. But briefly explained patents are for inventions,  trademarks are for logos, and copyrights are for expression of ideas on paper, in music,  photographs or videos. They will hold more talks to share in IP and its importance in business in the future. For now they are accepting filing for patents and trademarks,  but apparently copyright is not required to register.  It is upon the owner of the copyright to place the © sign on their material and to report to enforce it if necessary. Records of registered trademarks in Brunei are available online.
LiveWIRE was there to consult anyone on business and on business plans, there are still a bit of confusion on what it is and what it does,  such as it only serves the youth (it doesnt), that it provides cash to start up businesses (it doesn’t, but it does gives prize away in the business awards competition),  and it’s free (some events yes,  but most workshops are very dirt cheap). LiveWIRE serves mostly as an education hub to guide aspiring entrepreneurs to lead them to success. They are the teacher,  but it is up to the students to be successful. Among the many workshops the Bright Ideas workshop serves as the best place to start in business, it shares about the Mindset of success in business, basic financial management and legal processes in Brunei. Have to admit, with all the new changes in government, some of the contents will require constant updating.
There were other government departments that were there.  TAP on their online payment process for employers to payee their employees TAP/SCP.
ROC on their business registration online.  But i discussed with them further in another event at the BSJV SME event at seria, more on that in another post.
The newly formed foreign direct investments or FDI unit serves the purpose of identifying industries in Brunei that deserves FDI’s. Kinda like a scholarship board for excellent students.
While the exhibition and clinics were held, there was also talks being held in the hall. For more info on the event please check www.enterpriseopenday.gov.bn for details.

2016 is at a good start

Its been a while, but i think I should start posting again. Especially with the rise of new government policies, and  restructuring. All in the name of developing entrepreneurship in Brunei.

November 2015, saw the reshuffling of the ministerial cabinet, as well as the split of Ministry of Industry and Primary resources (MIPR) into Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT) and the Department of Energy and Industry (as of January officially renamed Energy and Industry Department). And then the titah by his majesty on the new year regarding the the SME Centre
I personally am personally torn on the decision for the split. First the cons, its only because the restrucuturing is unclear for now, and might result in confusions internally and externally. It is interesting to point out that primary resources would cover agriculture and agrifood, I just don’t see how that is not under industry as well. I just hope the dust settles soon.
On a good note, this hopefully means that tourism will finally have the budget it deserves in order to develop the industry.
On the SME centre, it seems like part of BEDB has been or will be absorbed into this entity. It is still unclear how or where this body stands. Looking forward see how it works. It seems with  his majesty’s titah, government departments are in a hurry to show that they are doing something to meet his and the country’s vision. As observed the enterprise openday (check www.enterpriseopenday.gov.bn was held just after 2 weeks after the new year. More on that in another post.

But for now, I would say it is all on a very interestingly good start.

Use of card surcharges can be considered fraudelent practices

http://www.bt.com.bn/business-national/2014/03/13/retailers-warned-passing-credit-card-surcharges-customers
To my understanding (someone please confirm), the surcharge is because the shops dont get the minimum sales through cards.
But the irony is, if they have a surcharge or minimum purchase, that would discourage people using cards. So the solution is IF their sales doesn’t reach the minimum in the first place then don’t bother getting the machine, and when you do, teach the cashier to ask cash or card to promote use of cards, even give a discount if necessary. That’s why the banks promote discounts using their cards.
Even small items by several people will add up. My last year lost wallet incident has made me prefer to lose my card rather than my cash, and therefore I would like to use my card more.
The added benefit of accepting cards for a company, is the less risk of the employee stealing the cash. They might steal the card info, but that is a problem relatively traced and fixed. For the employee, no hassle of cash and coins.

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In conclusion,
-Use card accepting machine if and only if your sales reach the minimum requirement,
-When you do accept cards, on order to reach the minimum sales promote the use of cards through discounts, or promotional items.
-Train the sales/cashier to promote the use of cards.
-Don’t use tactics that will scare customers from using their cards, e.g. surcharges and minimum payments.

Messenger Wars

Found an interesting research on social messengers used in different regions, in US fb messenger use still high, in China wechat (explains some stories from my Chinese friends) and wvery else is whatsapp (no wonder it was bought over). I wud like to find out stats in brunei. Shud make my own research.

SME Guidebook by BEDB

LiveWIRE had a speaker from BruIPO sharing about intellectual property, but he also shared about sources of funding from BEDB. I know they actually produced the following brochure, but I didn’t know they made it available online. So here it is.

or download from the source at http://www.bedb.com.bn/documents/sme/BEDB.SME.Guide.Book(2012).pdf