Getting Business Funding in Brunei

One of the most difficult challenges in starting or running a business in brunei or in any other country is funding. funding for starting up, running, or expanding a business. If you ask any SME owners and they would say any of these things:

  • There are no funding.
  • difficult to find,
  • there are funding available, but difficult to obtain

I come under the 3rd category. So when I considered starting up my business, I gave up on financing, and decided to start it cheap. Among the problems that I had were:

  • Loans require guarantors or collateral, it is easier to get a guarantor to buy a car, rather than to start a business. You could be a guarantor yourself. A guarantor is usually recommeded if they a government employee or an employer of a big company e.g. shell.
  • Writing a Business Plan. This was easy to learn to make, but a lot of work to do it right. especially if you have to put in the quoted numbers for the stuff you need to spend on for start up capital. not too mention the marketing and the financial forecast that you have to do.

The existing funding that I know is as follows:

  • SME financing scheme from MIPR. this applied at BIBD and Baiduri, but the confirmation comes from MIPR. This funding is for startups, expansions and project basis.
  • The SCB business Hire Purchase loan, this is mostly for funding existing business. Minimum of 1 years, and recommended if you kept your accounts in SCB.
  • BEDB YDR Grant Scheme offered to youths that graduated from the Youth Development Centre (YDC). This is a grant and repayment is not required.

Recently in July 2010, there has been some news on new financing available, among them are:

For either of these, information about the grants are available from the website. There is also a briefing held for both of them. I will probably attend both to get more information and weigh my choices.

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AMIR Consortium Discussion with Local SME’s

13 March 2010 – On saturday morning, a handful SME’s were invited to introduce them to an initiative by BEDB to promote local SME’s that has been awarded to the AMIR consortium.

The Amir Consortium is made up of Alif Technologies, Mimit E Technologies, Indah Sejahtera Development and Services, and Rafiqun IT services. The project that they have awarded is on www.padian.com, which will be a business to business portal, to help match local businesses to other local businesses as well as foreign business or investments.

The participants were mostly from food production and manufacturing businesses in Brunei. The representatives of AMIR Consortium had an opportunity to listen to the frustrations of the SME’s in dealing with exporting their products overseas. Among those frustrations were:

  • Lack of Funding for Facilities, Machinery, Research and Development as well as for export. Especially in order to achieve the minimal standards or requirements to export to other countries.
  • Inadequate facilities such as Lab testing foods for nutritional information being too time consuming.
  • A lack of IT literacy for entrepreneurs to use the technology.

The representatives of AMIR had a few suggestions to help SME’s, but had admitted that they can only do so much, as they do not provide funding, but may help in getting the credibility for funding by obtaining for the SME a business partner that would help import/export or develop the SME.

It was shared that after discussing with more SME’s, the AMIR Consortium and http://www.padian.com may have its launch in the month of April.

More pics at: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=125580&id=550578077&l=9a53954f47

SME Cluster Development Workshop

Jagat Shah at SME Cluster Development in Brunei

28 October 2009 – Several government agencies, organizations, banks and SME’s attended a workshop on SME Cluster Development at the Rizqun Hotel. The Workshop lasted the whole day. Among the topics that were discussed were:

  • The activities the whole day
  • The meaning of Cluster Development
  • Case studies of Cluster Development
  • How Brunei can take advantage of cluster development
  • Presentation/Discussions on Sectors to Pursue Cluster Development
  • Creating a a workgroup to spearhead cluster development in Brunei.

I found the workshop to be eye opening in the sense that all the stakeholder – SME’s, Government Departments, Banks, Business Development Services and Consultants could do more to help each other to improve brunei’s economy as well as pursuing the diversification from our oil economy. Continue reading