| Siti Hajar |
A TOTAL of 116 home-grown businesses have benefited from the Brunei Economic Development Board’s (BEDB) micro-grant scheme under the Youth Entrepreneurship Development Programme since its introduction in 2008.
The financial scheme provides a grant consisting of $2,000 in equipment to help youth, including school leavers and ex-convicts, venture into business.
One of the recipients is 27-year-old Mohd Awis Ar-Quarni whose leap of faith into the world of entrepreneurship has led to a respectable income generated by his car workshop. He attributes most of his success to the BEDB financial scheme.
“I came to know of BEDB’s micro grant scheme in 2012 through acquaintances, who encouraged me to apply for the $2,000 assistance that resulted in equipment I needed to grow my business,” he told the Bulletin in an interview yesterday.
The Form 4 school-leaver said his achievements took six years in the making.
He first gained a footing in business through practical and vocational courses offered by the Youth Development Centre.
This was followed by work placements in the private sector where he gained enough experience and confidence to follow his passion in the car industry, he added.
A once struggling entrepreneur, Mohd Awis has the potential to earn $800 profit per month because of the support he received under the scheme.
“My work is now made significantly easier because of BEDB’s help when compared to when I had to spend from my own pocket, which was very difficult,” he recalled. Among the challenges he faces was working alone because financial restrictions hindered him from employing any staff.
His business plan, which is a requirement to qualify for the grant, includes expanding his business in the future, he said.
Unlike well-known auto-repair shops, most of which are conveniently located in business or industrial areas, Mohd Awis has set up his workshop at home in the Kg Katok ‘B’ housing scheme, which helps make his rates competitive.
“I am very grateful and touched by BEDB’s support,” he said.
The BEDB micro-grant scheme supports various businesses such as food kiosks, tailoring and embroidery, fish mongering, plant nursery and beauty salons.
Recipients of the grant are closely monitored by BEDB to ensure that the home-grown businesses can reach their full potential.
Mohd Awis encouraged other youth, who are keen to start their own business or are unemployed, to take advantage of the number of free courses available to the public. “Courses such as the ones I have been to have really helped.”