DARe initiatives for MSMEs

Izah Azahari

After further assessment of the business and labour market situation, the Ministry of Finance and Economy (MoFE) in cooperation with the Manpower Planning and Employment Council (MPEC), the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and DARe (Darussalam Enterprise), is taking steps to support the private sector in continuing to generate employment and maintain job security of local citizens.

The Bulletin spoke to DARe on the initiatives announced by Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah during a press conference on March 28. One of the initiatives under DARe is the Industry Business Academy (IBA) online training, which is powered by Coursera.

According to DARe, IBA is a newly launched initiative to provide the owners of local micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with access to online business courses.

There are over 300 courses in IBA online that businesses can tap into from eight different domains: Marketing and Sales, Innovation and Design, Human Resources, Finance and Accounting, Business Ops, Business Skills, Data Skills and Technology Skills.

IBA online is open to local MSMEs, and those looking to apply must be registered with the Registry of Companies and Business Names (ROCBN) under the MoFE.

Another initiative introduced under DARe is the Co-Matching Scheme, which is a co-matching fund of up to BND20,000 aimed to encourage and assist businesses to grow in the hope of boosting revenue and encouraging future exports.

Through this scheme, DARe will contribute 70 per cent of the amount required for the business, which in turn contributes the remaining 30 per cent of the funds.

This scheme is open to all business sectors, and is eligible for both start-ups and functioning businesses.

As for businesses in the e-commerce and logistic services, DARe advised to use the Co-Matching grant to improve their software and back end to encourage more businesses to sell online, in order to grow their operations.

DARe’s vision has remained the same since its establishment in 2016, which is to build enterprises into dynamic and resilient drivers of economic growth.

This can only be made possible by working with different stakeholders – both government and private – to achieve the goals of Brunei Vision 2035.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, DARe saw businesses adapt to the changing business landscape of social distancing through cashless transactions, on-boarding onto e-commerce platforms and introducing different channels to sell services or products online.

In the following months, DARe is looking to adapt other initiatives to fit the needs of local MSMEs.

Businesses can register at http://dare.gov.bn/ibaonline/Home.aspx. In the case of those registering for their employees, company and business owners or founders should email [email protected] to give their consent.

For more information on the financing scheme, the public can email [email protected] and for DARe assistance, contact 2384830 or 8363442, or email [email protected]