| Azlan Othman |
THE CEO of Bag Networks said budding entrepreneurs need to have start-up capital and funds to purchase.
During her talk titled “Financing to Start & Grow Your Business”, Haslina binti Haji Mohd Taib said “we also need to have money to fund our living”.
“This is half of the burden in Brunei, where a lot of us are working full time and do our businesses on the sidelines,” she added at the “Women in Entrepreneurship” workshop at the Radisson Hotel yesterday.
“Many countries push for entrepreneurship. In Brunei, we have a cultural hurdle because we are so dependent on the government.
“But the government has called on the private sector, especially women, to help the economy grow.
She highlighted financial hurdles and said one of the major challenges to start a business or boost SME growth is the inaccessibility to finance.
“It is a key hurdle to any entrepreneur. New start-ups find it hard.
“Women entreprenuers face high barriers relative to their male counterparts. Women-owned small enterprises face a credit gap of more than US$1 trillion worldwide and it is also reflected in Brunei Darussalam.
Specific challenges encountered by women-owned enterprises include cultural barriers, high collateral, lack of credit rating and greenfield financing, higher interest rates, shorter terms on loan repayment and unstructured alternative funding,” she added.
Speaking on current available funding in the Sultanate, she said, “We are fortunate in that several initiatives are put in place in the form of grants, loans and venture capital through the Brunei Economic Development Board and the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources.
“SMEs in Brunei account for 98% of the businesses and women make up 50% of entrepreneurs in the country.
“In 2010, there were a total of 6,758 enterprises operating in Brunei. And yet, our SMEs only contribute around 20% of the GDP,” she said.