STEP Centre’s BEST Awards 2009/2010

On the 1st of December 2010, The Science, Technology and Environment Partnership (STEP) Centre between BSP and MOE held the Prize Presentation for the Brunei Environment, Science and Technology (BEST) Awards for 2009/2010 at Bridex.

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The projects are actually Research and Development in nature, but most of the project have some commercial value. The Secondary Schools and Tertiary Schools (Form 6 and Vocational/Technical). The schools consists of St. George, Chung Hwa, Chung Hua, Chung Ching, Sekolah Menengah Masin, STPRI, Sufri Bolkiah, SMSO, MD, MS and MTSSR. I found that in most cases, that these students were doing projects that were well beyond their syllabus. In a few there were students doing University Level projects. I would know, I took Chemistry in UBD. Of course these students had helped from MIPR, Agricultural Centre, MOH, BSP and UBD. But I was still impressed.

The judges consisted of officers and staff from  MIPR Agriculture Department, BSP, LiveWIRE and MOE.

The projects consisted of Research in Agriculture, uses of Natural Pesticides, Natural Fertilizer, Natural Fungicides, Solar Powered Fish Feeder, Coconut Battery, Hydro Electricity, Natural Medicinal Products, Fuelless Lawn Mower, and a more efficient farming techniques.

Hope to see some of them participating in future CIPTA Awards, Think Big Biz Plan Awards, or even the LiveWIRE Business Awards.

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.

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

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

LiveWIRE Business Plan Awards 2008/2009

LiveWIRE’s flagship event – the Business Plan Awards Prize Presentation Ceremony was Held on 10th December 2009 at the Hua Ho Manggis Ballroom.

Usually I would be a participant in this event, but I have been too busy this year to complete my business plan. But since I was a LiveWIRE Business Network Committee Member, I was involved in the events management as well as provided with a “booth” to show my company’s services.

The Guest of Honor was the Minister of Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources (MIPR) – Pehin Dato Seri Setia Hj Yahya Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj. Bakar. The attendees consisted of the competition participants, representatives from government ministries and departments, parents and friends of the participants, liveWIRE members and committee.

I was to busy volunteering that I didn’t thought of taking pictures. Hope the pic gallery on livewire-brunei’s website updates soon.

I hope that some of the winners from this competition transform their business plan into a real running business like I did. Wish all of you Good luck! :)

For more official news of the events follow the links below.

http://www.brudirect.com/index.php/2009121112150/Local-News/livewire-contest-awards-winners.html

http://news.brunei.fm/2009/12/11/livewire-contest-awards-winners/

http://www.livewire-brunei.com/news_item.php?newsid=152

Agriculture & Agrifood Expo 2009

19 November 2009 – The Agriculture & Agrifood Expo was launcded at the Agro-technology park. His majesty gave an opening speech on how agriculture and entrepreneurship is important and is even an obligation in terms of social, economic and religion.

His majesty later presented 3 selected entrepreneurs for their achievements. Namely Soon Lee Farms and Trading (Soon Lee Supermarket and Ayamku) , Sahamada Sdn Bhd (Exported Cinta Chilli Sauce), and Awg Chien Puong Chin (Don’t know exactly famous for, somebody please tell me if you know).

His majesty then visited all the booths that were at the expo. From the companies that provided fertilizer, machinery, fruits and vegetables, paddy planting and equipment, processed foods, to business and marketing consultants.

Interesting booths that I saw were:

  • a company that invented a rat trap that can trap several rats (a CIPTA award winner).
  • Some LiveWIRE members selling organic fertilizer and another selling electronic (produced) fertilizer, and then some were in farming, and others were in processed foods.
  • Some Huge Fruits (you can see a few in my pictures)
  • Some locally made cakes and other food sources.

Photographs I took can be viewed from my facebook photos

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=101630&id=550578077&l=0842e4a967

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

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