| Siti Hajar |
THE coming of Starbucks to the Sultanate holds vast promise as the nation looks to international investors to aid its development.
During a press conference held yesterday at the worldwide chain’s latest outlet in Beribi, Managing Director of Starbucks Malaysia and Brunei, Sydney Quays, said that plans are in the works to involve itself in community work.
As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative, Starbucks Brunei has begun dialogue with SMARTER Brunei to assist the non-government organisation.
Starbucks Brunei and SMARTER yesterday officially commenced their partnership and they discussed the need to raise autism awareness.
“There aren’t a lot of people who understand what autism is unless it affects them and that is one of the areas that we hope to create awareness,” said Quays.
“We are very grateful for a brand like Starbucks to be associated with us,” said SMARTER Brunei president Malai Haji Abdullah bin Haji Malai Othman.
“The collaboration with Starbucks will definitely raise awareness about autism, especially as the chain aims to utilise its strength in CSR to help us. Through the partnership, what we hope most is to raise awareness among the people who can then donate to our organisation,” Malai Haji Abdullah said.
Starbucks Brunei’s three-storey building in Beribi will include a training centre for local youths, said Quays, adding that the international brand is working with the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports to provide training to local youth to give them marketable skills to broaden their job opportunities.
“We are internationally renowned for our training programmes and so we want to be able to spread that among the Bruneian youth as well,” he said.
“We will invite trainers to conduct seminars,” he added.
With the opening of its new branch, Starbucks Brunei has a total staff of 38 who work either full-time or part-time with the part-timers made up mainly of college students.
Quays said, “When we first opened our outlet, a lot of people told us that we could never get locals to work and that we’d have to bring in foreigners. But today, all of our partners (staff) that work with us are locals and many of them have built careers with us as well.”
“There would be no reason for us to hire foreigners if the business maintains the way it is now.” The most important thing, he said, “is that the brand, the business and the partners are here to stay and we will continue to invest in Brunei.”