BEDB awards $1.4 million in LEAP grant
| Azaraimy HH |
THE Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB) awarded a total of $1.4 million in LEAP grants to nine local innovators during a ceremony held at the Knowledge Hub in Anggerek Desa yesterday.
LEAP stands for ‘Local Enterprise Application and Product’ and since it was launched in 2010, the programme has presented grants to 23 companies, including grant recipients for 2013, amounting to $3 million.
Presenting the grants to the innovators was the guest of honour, Deputy Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office cum Chairman of the BEDB, Dato Paduka Awang Haji Ali bin Haji Apong.
Among the recipients were Brukiosk Communication, Halbase Company, Hoco Creative Company, Kin-Ethics Company, Inspright Services, Institut Teknologi Brunei, Ivaps Sdn Bhd, Mediahikmah and PHMD Publishing Company.
In his speech, the deputy minister highlighted that these initiatives are in line with His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s 65th birthday titah, in which, the monarch said, “Another important factor towards sustainable development is upgrading the productivity of the public and private sectors in the use of latest technologies and investment in research and innovation. Through this, various ideas could be developed. Hence, both research and innovation should have a strong foothold and be part of our economy, in line with our small population.”
In support of His Majesty’s aspiration, the BEDB implemented the relevant initiatives such as the LEAP grant to promote local innovation by offering financial assistance and business management skills.
“The grant recipients will need to fully dedicate their resources and extend working hours to deliver their product in the shortest possible time. The global race for innovation is on and it is filled with focused competitors. Our biggest mistake will be complacency,” the deputy minister said.
He also called upon the research and teaching staff at the institutes of higher learning to promote local innovation and enhance our country’s drive towards greater innovation and productivity.
Dato Paduka Awang Haji Ali urged students undertaking Business Studies, Science and Engineering to put their ideas as well as skills together to create innovative products with technological content whilst addressing the market needs to develop sustainable businesses.
Previous grant recipients which are still active are BruGPS Technologies Sdn Bhd, Roz Floraculture Enterprise and Batik Desamas. These businesses have successfully introduced their products to the local market and are expanding sales to countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and South Korea, among others.
Dr Abdul Manaf bin Hj Metussin, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of BEDB explained that the LEAP programme is aimed at providing financial assistance of up to $150,000 to develop prototypes or pilot projects that have innovative technological content, commercial practicality and export potential in both ICT and non-ICT industries.
It is opened not only to local SMEs but also to students and researchers from Institute of Higher Learnings (IHLs).
The ceremony was also attended by the BEDB board members, senior government officers as well as senior management from banks, local companies and institutes of higher learning.