SME Cluster Development Workshop

A Workshop on SME Cluster Development was held at MIPR on 8th June 2010. The participants consisted of the government sectors, Business Development Services, and Entrepreneurs from Food and Tourism industry.

The workshop facilitator was a commonwealth consultant named Stanley Ansong. In the morning, he introduced the idea of Cluster Development the participants, where it has been done, and a general idea of how brunei SME’s can take advantage of it.

stanley ansongIn the afternoon, the participants shared their concerns on the factors that may make clustering a success or not, followed by group discussions on how tourism, education, it and business development services can contribute to enhance SME’s.

Examples benefits that were mentioned were:

  • SME’s of the same industry of similar products can reduce costs by bulk purchasing of supplies, raw materials, transport and packaging.
  • SME’s of the same industry may share or rent underutilize equipment. for example in Canada there could be 10 publishers and only 1 of them had printing equipment that leased to the others.
  • The clusters of products could be marketed by a single entity.
  • Large orders that cannot be delivered by a single company can be shared with other companies.

Issues that were raised about clustering were:

  • the lack of trust between entrepreneurs concerning “open” secrets
  • the lack of teamwork and the unwillingness to share credit or profit.

In the group discussions, the presentations were:

  • Tourism – on how tourism helps the economy by providing foreign consumers, and how it benefits, the food industry in food provision, the handicraft industry in selling souvenirs, the IT industry in web design for international marketing and Information Management.
  • Education – on how the education institution teaches business related subjects such as accounting, human resource management, softskills, entrepreneurship and so on.
  • Business Development Services – such as EDC, LiveWIRE and BEDB-icentre, assists in training, advice, marketing, lead to opportunities, and access or assistance to funding.

Due to time constraints and volume of content presented, two other groups on food manufacturing did not present their discussions.

It is hoped that an SME Cluster will develop as a result of this workshop so that Brunei’s SME’s can be enhanced to meet the needs of nation to compete in a globalized world.


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