A showcase of local ingenuity

Danial Norjidi

Through the Borneo Bulletin Yearbook (BBYB) Networking Session’s first micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) Showcase, a number of entrepreneurs have been provided a platform to introduce their various products and services to the public.

The event is a community-based project made possible through partnerships with corporations and entities, such as Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD), imagine, DARe (Darussalam Enterprise), One Riverside, Radio Television Brunei (RTB) and Brunei Press Sdn Bhd.

Held at One Riverside, a wide variety of products and services are being featured, ranging from food, coffee, fashion, telco solutions and local products.

The three-day event is aimed at encouraging entrepreneurship and engaging MSMEs in learning, improving processes and gaining insights into financial management.

In addition, the MSME Showcase is providing mentoring opportunities for budding entrepreneurs to discover the various types of assistance and services available in the market in their quest to launch successful businesses.

Among the participating MSMEs at the showcase are two BIBD Catalyst participants – Mumtaz Collections and Mukaku Cosmetics. BIBD Catalyst is a corporate social responsibility initiative, in collaboration with DARe, that focusses on providing acceleration programmes to help promising small businesses scale and grow into medium-sized enterprises.

A vendor talks to customers at the MSME Showcase. PHOTOS: BAHYIAH BAKIR
ABOVE & BELOW: Some of the products available at the MSME Showcase

ABOVE & BELOW: Photos show participants of the MSME Showcase

Mumtaz Collections is a company that specialises in Muslimah fashion and has expanded to doing custom wear. Having first started in 2010, it has since opened a boutique, set up a website, collaborated with Swarovski and broaden its customer base to as far as Paris and Dubai.

Speaking on taking part in the MSME Showcase, Mumtaz Collections General Manager Haji Mohd Sabri bin Haji Suhaili said, “We are excited to be here under BIBD Catalyst.”

He described One Riverside as “an exciting place”, adding that “it’s really nice; the setting is good and it’s very welcoming”.

Noting that many people miss travelling, he said, “If they really want to get that experience, they should come here to get that feeling.”

Meanwhile, Mukaku Cosmetics is displaying its cosmetic line which is formulated using natural and plant-based ingredients.

Speaking to the Weekend Bulletin, owner and formulator Edy Zurina binti Awang shared that it is exciting to be part of the MSME Showcase, adding that she is participating with her team of beauticians, who are from the Youth Development Centre.

“We’ve been quiet for a while because of what’s been happening this year. So this is good exposure for us, to tell people that we still exist and to create awareness on what we do,” she said.

She added, “Mukaku Cosmetics is actually one of the brands in the BIBD Catalyst programme, support us by not just giving us this profile but giving us the opportunity to grow and expand.”

Highlighting why people should visit the showcase, she said, “You’re not just coming here for what is being offered but you’re also supporting locals during these (challenging) time.”

Also being featured at the showcase are products by some local MSMEs under DARe’s Bruneian Made initiative.

DARe Executive Officer Izzat Halid explained, “Bruneian Made Supermarket Shelf is an initiative to help local MSMEs access the supermarkets. So far, we have penetrated 10 supermarkets.

“On top of the shelf, we also have the Bruneian Made Finest, which will be launched some time in December to showcase high-end, exclusive premium products.

“Aiding that, is an e-commerce platform, which will cater for those who want to purchase these products from overseas. That will also come in December,” he said.

He shared that products from 10 vendors are currently being featured at the Bruneian Made gazebo.

Izzat said, “The aim is to raise awareness on the initiative and the local products that we have. We’ll be here for three days. We’re here to support local products.” Another participant in the showcase is Gelatiamo, an ice cream shop that makes its own range of gelato every day using natural ingredients.

Gelatiamo Business Development Executive Nurul Hanisah Khairunnisa Basirah binti Haji Masir described taking part in the MSME Showcase as a “golden” opportunity, adding that, “we hope that this can be a good exposure for the brand and for the people of Brunei to know that we offer quality gelato.”

She described the showcase as an event “where Made-in-Brunei products come together and have a sort of connection.

“I love One Riverside because it’s somewhere that you go in Brunei that doesn’t feel like Brunei,” she said, highlighting that it “is a very good spot because it’s like going to an expo but having very beautiful scenery as well.”

On the showcase, she said, “It’s just exciting to see that locals have this to offer. Also, you never know, sometimes when people come to an expo, it’s not just to buy, but to look for opportunities; or even careers.”

Following yesterday’s launch, the MSME Showcase will continue today and tomorrow from 10am.