Brunei businessman among Top 10 Innovators

Syazwan bin Haji Suni of S&R Aquafarm from Brunei is one of 10 people to receive the runner-up prize in the prestigious Shell LiveWIRE Top Ten Innovators Awards.

It is a global competition among Shell LiveWIRE alumni, which highlights and rewards businesses that demonstrate excellence in innovation, and gives entrepreneurs a chance to shine on a global platform.

Located in Tutong, S&R Aquafarm produces herbs through an aquaponic system that uses solar energy to power the water pumps.

The award ceremony – at the head office of Brunei Shell Petroleum Company Sdn Bhd (BSP) – saw Managing Director of BSP and Shell Country Chair Dr Ceri M Powell presenting a USD10,000 cheque to S&R Aquafarm, represented by Meryyanah binti Haji Umar.

Dr Ceri M Powell shared that BSP is proud to play its part in supporting Brunei’s local entrepreneurs, especially in the field of agriculture and aquaculture.

“People and Country is a key priority for BSP. We are in full support of the vision of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam to encourage more youth to participate in entrepreneurship, through delivering innovative and sustainable ways to develop the capability of Bruneian talent and businesses.

“This incredible achievement will hopefully inspire more businesses, communities and society to also make that transition towards a more sustainable future,” she added.

FROM LEFT: LiveWIRE Brunei Business Counsellor Haji Abdul Yusrin bin Dato Haji Mohd Salleh, Meryyanah binti Haji Umar representing S&R Aquafarm, Managing Director of BSP and Shell Country Chair Dr Ceri M Powell and Chairperson of LiveWIRE Brunei Hajah Rosita binti Haji Hassan in a group photo

When asked about his win, Syazwan said, “We have been in this journey since 2011 and we are constantly looking for creative ways to improve the efficiencies of the aquaponics system. We pitched the idea to incorporate solar to the aquaponics system to LiveWIRE mentor Haji Yusrin, and we prepared a business plan for the LiveWIRE Business Awards 2019 competition. Alhamdulillah, we won third place, and we were awarded with the ‘The Most Innovative Enterprise Award’ on the same day.

“By early September 2019, we learned that S&R Aquafarm was shortlisted for the Top 21 Innovators award. The final Global Top 10 Innovators was decided by public votes. Alhamdulillah, S&R Aquafarm attained the runner-up position in the Global Top 10 Innovators. We are so grateful for this achievement, not only for S&R Aquafarm, but on behalf of Brunei as well. Moving forward, S&R Aquafarm is looking to expand the business into a commercial production, Insya Allah,” he added.

This year, Shell LiveWIRE partnered with Shell Global Commercial – which supplies lubricants, aviation fuels, bitumen, sulphur and related services to one million business customers in 150 markets – to deliver a competition focussed on the circular economy.

Shell aims to reward entrepreneurs that help move the world away from the linear economy model – taking, using, and disposing of products – towards an economy that designs waste out of the system.

This year’s categories include: Food and Agriculture, Energy and Mobility, and Sustainable Future.The winners from each category received USDD20,000, while the runners-up from each category received a USDD10,000.

S&R Aquafarm under the Food and Agriculture category, faced stiff competition out of 98 applications from 19 countries. From there, 21 finalists competed in a public vote, which drew in more than 18,000 votes from 144 countries. This is a first for Brunei since the launch of the Shell LiveWIRE Top Ten Innovators (TTI) in 2015.

The 2019 Top Ten Innovators judging panel included Patrick Carré, Vice President, Global Key Accounts & Global Business; Jeff Wee, 2018 Top Ten Innovators winner and founder of WormingUp; Maarten van Dijk, Managing Director of SkyNRG; Susan Preston, Managing Partner of SeaChange Fund; and Wijnand de Wit, partner at Dalberg.