| Zee Yusri |
BRUNEI is recognised as the world’s most stable macro-economy by the World Economic Forum (GCI 2010/11) and is ideally positioned as a destination for doing business and investment for numerous of reasons. This includes Brunei’s high quality of life, political stability, strong oil and gas industry, well educated population, modern infrastructure, strategic location, rich biodiversity, attractive investment incentives, competitive utility rates and its readily available industrial sites.
These were revealed by Daniel Leong, Assistant Chief Executive Officer and Head of Innovation and New Initiatives Division, BEDB in his talk titled ‘Business Opportunities in Brunei’. The talk was given on the occasion of the 4th CAIBA Executive Board Meeting & Seminar, held yesterday at the Indera Kayangan Ballroom, the Empire Hotel & Country Club.
He also spoke about Brunei’s commitment in developing local businesses and strengthening its private sector. He said that a Local Business Development Strategy had been formulated through policy directions outlined in Brunei’s Vision 2035 with the objective of increasing opportunities for local SMEs and encouraging competitiveness and leadership in business.
He further spoke about Brunei Economic Development Board’s (BEDB) several effective local business development programmes and initiatives through a framework that emphasises capability, capital and connectivity. He said the aim was to create opportunities for local businesses by promoting a business-friendly environment. These efforts include Micro Enterprise Development; Start-up & Growth Enterprise Development; Internationalisation & Commercialisation Support as well as other initiatives.
“The BEDB also has identified several key industry clusters within the export-oriented manufacturing and services sectors that have the potential to bring value added activities to Brunei and create spin-off opportunities,” said Daniel Leong. He also said that the easily available cluster-specific industrial sites throughout the country made Brunei an ideal location for manufacturing Pharmaceuticals, Food and Food ingredients, Petrochemicals, Integrated Petrochemical Refinery and Renewable Energy. He said that within service sector, Brunei had the potential to further enhance Information and Communications Technology (ICT), supporting industries (Logistics and Oil Field Support Services), and invest in new emerging technologies.
Whereas within the manufacturing sector, Brunei has the potential to develop new industries both within and beyond the oil and gas industry, not only through the utilisation of its rich biodiversity and natural resources, but also through its strategic location in the region. During the talk, Daniel Leong, informed about Brunei’s vision to position the country as a new technology player in the next 20-30 years. He said that the BEDB was looking into the possibility of bringing new frontiers of science and technologies into Brunei, to create economic activities that were driven by accelerated technology developments with increasingly significant economic values.
One of the initiatives revealed by Daniel Leong was the funding for innovative start-ups. He mentioned that the partnership with AITI and DST in the Future Fund initiative, had provided seed capital to ICT start-ups, where funded companies would be incubated at iCentre and receive mentorship, as well as would be given access to test business ideas in the market by leveraging on DST’s mobile infrastructure. The fund size would be BND1.8 million – ranging from BND50k to BND150k per applicant.
Whereas for the ACCEL-X Venture Capital Fund through ACCEL-X Pte. Ltd, a Singapore-based venture capital fund, which had invested in early stage technology companies in ICT, interactive digital media and engineering, the fund size would be BND20 million – BND5 million per spring and SGD 15 million.
The talk was followed by a question and answers session.