25th June 2010, Friday – A few selected entrepreneurs and incubatees under the incubator program of the Entrerpreneurial Development Centre (EDC) were invited for a followup of discussions on how SME Development could be improved.
The facilitators were consultants from Vector Scorecard Asia Pacific (VSAPAC). They basically asked 3 main questions where the SME’s shared individually:
- What problems do they have as SME’s
- What facilities provided by government did SME’s find useful.
- What SME’s find that can be improved.
Among the problems that SME’s experience were:
- Difficulty of getting Funding
- Difficulty in getting the goverment subsidized food packaging
- Lacking of information on how to proceed in starting/expanding business and exporting products.
- The difficulty of getting exported due to the difficulty of getting standards required as those required an operational premise, which would require funding.
Among the Facilities that SME’s find beneficial were:
- Courses held by EDC
- Workshops and Forums held by Business Development Services (BDS)
- Incubator program under EDC
- Tradeshows that were sponsored or subsidized by government
- SME financing programmes
Among the things that could be improved:
- Courses are sometimes facilitated by a malaysian, therefore they do are not familiar with the customs, rules and regulations of the country. Courses were therefore are mostly theoretical and lack practical values when applied in Brunei. The SME’s would like to have an experienced and succesful local to mentor them to become as succesful.
- Talks and Forums seems ineffective as not much visible results.
- Incubator facilities were located far from any town centre. Incubation programes are limited and not well marketed.
- Tradeshows are sometimes are not well organized and promoted. e.g. the last halal expo coincided with the local products expo. The local products expo was not well advertise as it was only seen through big banners, and the radio advertising was done not on a popular channel.
- SME Financing programmes were difficult to obtain.
- Nutritional Analysis facility is slow and there were no queueing system. As some SME’s have tried to apply since 2008 by stopping by, and each time they were asked to come again. The facility may be slow due to the lack of analysis equipment.
- Packaging materials provided for SME’s are limited to certain expos and are not available continuously.
The facilitator ended the discussion by summarizing everyone’s points into basically create with the assistance of the government, an SME development roadmap on how anyone ne can be groomed to become a succesful entrepreneur.