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.