VSAPAC Dialogue at EDC

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:

  1. What problems do they have as SME’s
  2. What facilities provided by government did SME’s find useful.
  3. 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.

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EL-AMIR introduces Padian.com

10 April 2010, Saturday – The EL-AMIR (previously just AMIR) Consortium held another introduction briefing about Padian.com to SME’s, EDC incubatees  and officers of the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources (MIPR) at iCentre.

The el-AMIR Consortium was chosen by the BEDB to help SME’s to market themselves through technology under the initiative called “buy brunei portal”.

The project that has been proposed by el-AMIR is the website Padian.com. The website is a portal for Brunei companies to promote themselves and their products. The first phase of the project is to help SME’s and other small companies find strategic partners locally, regionally and internationally. The final phase of the project is to enable SME’s to sell their products directly from the website. At the end of the introduction, the members of the consortium accepted and answered questions that SME’s had on the portal.

The el-AMIR consortium is expecting to officially launch the website at the end of the month.

More pics are available at:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=130962&id=550578077&l=6125742a0e

VSAPAC Incubation Technical Assistance Programme

8th March 2010, Monday – An Incuabation Technical Assistance programme was held at Entrepreneurial Development Centre, Sinaut, Tutong. The programme was organized by Vector Scorecard (Asia Pacific) Pte Ltd.

Among the participant were incubatees, selected SME’s and officers from EDC.

The objectives of the program was to help incubatees and SME’s understand more Continue reading

SME Halal Workshop 2010

3rd March 2010 – MIPR held another SME Halal Workshop.

The event was held at MIPR building in Berakas. The opening remarks were given by the guest of honor – the new MIPR permanent secretary, and the head of entrepreneurial development centre (EDC).

The first talk was “Preparing SMEs for the Global Halal Market” by Abdalhamid Evans from Imarat Consultants. Among the topics he talked about were:

  • The global opportunities that exist for any SME’s venturing into the halal market.
  • How the halal market is not just about food, but also the logistics of transporting it, and also on products such as cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.
  • How the recent global financial crisis has lead more people to consider more on quality rather than just cheap pricing.
  • Exemplary entrepreneurs in the US that succeeded in the Halal Market
  • List of attitudes that would make entrepreneurs successful. (I personally like the point about how we may need to sacrifice opportunities to focus on the right strategies)
  • How the Brunei Halal Brand that it had now made Brunei a Leader in the Halal Market.

The second speaker was Tina Jamaluddin. Her talk was about how her company started as a small sme and how it expanded into an internationally exporting company. She is also shared her tips on making an SME as successful.

In the the Q and A session later both speakers answered questions from the participants.

Later in the afternoon were talks by Rushdi of Mimit E technologies and Noel Shield of Ghanim International.

Related Article:

More pics of the event can be found at: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=123507&id=550578077&l=486b0463c3

Certificate Presentation for BINA Course Participants

24th December 2009, BINA Auditorium – It was the first time the auditorium had been used since renovation. On this day, The auditorium was used for a certificate presentation ceremony for the participants that attended the courses that were facilitated by the Brunei Industrial development Association (BINA) and Entrepreneurial Development Centre(EDC).

The courses that the participants attended were Financial Statement course, and Store management and stock control course. There was a third course that I myself did not attend. All the course participants received certificates from the guest of honor. The course facilitators in return received some souvenirs from the representatives of the course participants.

edc representative handing a souvenirAt the end of the ceremony the participants took a picture with the guest of honor and the course facilitators.

The courses are held throughout the year. There will be more courses in 2010. More information can be obtained by contacting BINA and EDC.

More pictures of the events are available on my facebook account. at

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=108692&id=550578077&l=dae5a6344

Store Management and Stock Control Course

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I attended this course at BINA on 10-11 Nov. The course ends on 14 Nov 2009. (I won’t be able to make that as I would be at livewire leadership camp then) The participants consisted of representatives from Continue reading

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