| Hakim Hayat |
THE Minister of Energy and Industry at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Awang Haji Mohammad Yasmin bin Haji Umar said the government welcomes more Public-Private Partnership (PPP) initiatives and is ready to work hand in-hand with the private sector in the country’s drive to inculcate entrepreneurial skills among the younger population and boost the economy.
Speaking to the Sunday Bulletin on the sidelines of the signing of an agreement between the Federation of Brunei Malay Entrepreneurs (PPPMB) and DARe (Darussalam Enterprise) to establish a cubicle incubation site to nurture and monitor the development of micro enterprises, the minister, who is also the Chairman of DARe, lauded the initiative and urged more parties in the private sector to come forward and join the bandwagon.
“The most difficult phase in a business is during the initial start-up phase, where they need to find their footing, so having a dedicated location where businesses can be guided properly will be beneficial in helping them grow… this is something that micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are working for,” he said, noting that the signing of the agreement with the PPPMB will enable new businesses to increase their business skill levels, with the ready access to good mentorship and training.
The minister also stressed that it is now time for the private sector and other business organisations to take action and come up with different initiatives to aid in the development of MSMEs. “PPPMB took the initiative to come up with this project with its own money, and has actually backed up its talk with real actions through the delivery of this project,” he added.
He said that it would be of no good use if, after holding hundreds of conferences to discuss and come up with ideas to tackle the issue of MSME growth, no actual implementation of such ideas are carried out.
“PPPMB has said that it will help to create a dedicated space for individuals to start up their businesses, and at the same time, DARe will work with it in areas of training such as conducting of accounting courses, marketing and gaining access to finance, and will also help it by giving out microcredit, so in a way, this is a joint work between the government and PPPMB,” he said.
The minister expressed his belief that other organisations will follow the footsteps of PPPMB and urged business organisations and associations to deliver what has been said in numerous conferences.
According to the minister, PPPMB is committed to ensuring good results from the project and said it will be monitoring these start-ups and work with them closely to take them to the next level by providing them training and exposure to both the local and foreign business environment through expositions in regions such as China, Korea and Japan.
“We will continue to give them the much-needed exposure to enable them to fully grasp what it takes to be an MSME and an entrepreneur, how they can get better through capacity building, which will in turn contribute to Brunei’s GDP…this is how we are going to nurture MSMEs and His Majesty’s Government will continue to work with organisations to help them grow,” added the minister.
The cubicle incubation site, called ‘Projek Kubikel Belia’, will be housed at the Beribi Industrial Complex, featuring 12 3m by 2m cubicles, and will be offered to entrepreneurs below 40 years who are members of PPPMB for $90 per month. PPPMB will begin renovation of the site upon the signing of a tenancy agreement, after which entrepreneurs will be allowed to start their operations soon.
PPPMB President Dr Haji Abdul Latif bin Haji Chuchu said the initiative gives local entrepreneurs – who are still in the early stages of their business development – an opportunity to test and further develop their products and services.
“The provision of affordable incubation allows our local entrepreneurs to get started more easily before they are ready to scale up and expand their businesses into much larger operations,” said Dr Haji Abdul Latif, adding that the start-ups would also be provided mentorship and given the chance to cross-collaborate with one another.
DARe Chief Executive Officer Javed Ahmad in his speech said that the incubation space will give entrepreneurs the chance to develop their products and services, and at the same time provide much-needed experience and knowledge in entrepreneurship. “This effort is in line with DARe’s mission of supporting businesses from their start-up phase to growth phase. We guarantee the PPPMB that we will work closely with the incubatees and give them the right training, market access and funding,” he said.
Javed also welcomed associations and other companies to apply for the development of DARe’s industrial sites.
During the ceremony, Dr Haji Abdul Latif signed the tenancy agreement on behalf of PPPMB at the Design and Technology Building in Anggerek Desa, while Ahmad signed for DARe. The signing was witnessed by Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Awang Haji Mohammad Yasmin.
The incubation facilities, located at Unit 5, Block C of the Beribi Industrial Complex next to the PPPMB office, will be equipped with air-conditioning and facilities for food-based businesses. Parties interested in becoming members of PPPMB are welcome to visit them at their office in Beribi.
DARe manages 30 industrial sites and complexes throughout the country to support the growth of MSMEs. Further information on the available facilities and site application process is available online at www.dare.gov.bn.