Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) hosted a delegation from Singapore Management University (SMU) yesterday. The students were briefed on BIBD’s corporate social responsibility initiative, Community for Brunei, that provides an online platform for entrepreneurship, volunteerism and fund raising.
BIBD’s Chief Marketing Officer Hajah Nurul Akmar binti Haji Mohd Jaafar said, “Community for Brunei was launched during the height of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Sultanate. We wanted a way to support micro enterprises affected by the pandemic by providing a digital platform for micro enterprises to offer their goods and products to the public at no cost to the vendors themselves. BIBD worked closely with several promising local youth start-ups such as The Collective and Think Axis, and we were able to provide a complete digital ecosystem with a virtual marketplace and an integrated digital payment gateway along with a logistics partner to handle deliveries directly from vendor to customer.
Vendors on the platform were even given advice on how to market their products and brand their businesses, and for the first three months after launch, 100 per cent of the sales they made through Community for Brunei went back to the vendors.
“Over the years, Community for Brunei has continued to evolve into more than just an online marketplace; organisations can now make use of the website to promote causes and volunteering opportunities, inviting members of the public to volunteer their time in causes that they are passionate about. At the same time, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) can raise funds directly through our website. Our aim is for Community for Brunei to be a central platform for social issues and causes; to raise awareness, bring social inclusion and mobilise the appropriate resources to truly make an impact. In this aspect, BIBD is the only financial institution in the country to offer such an initiative; certainly this makes us unique in the market, locally and regionally.”
The students from SMU shared that community service is a key aspect of the undergraduate experience and is a graduation required where each student is required to complete a minimum of 80 hours of community work. Even so, many felt that the Community for Brunei platform is unique and well-aligned with the needs of the nation.
Fourteen students from SMU attended the briefing held at the Centre for Excellence and Empowerment at the PGGMB building in the capital. Joining the students were 15 students along with lecturers and officials from Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD).
The Community for Brunei platform leverages technology to bring the community together, providing an online ecosystem with an integrated digital payment gateway as part of BIBD’s efforts to encourage a digitalised society powered by a cashless economy. The platform is designed to be a safe and secure online platform to operate through, with a free website so small and medium enterprises (SMEs) do not need to build one themselves. This is part of BIBD’s efforts to support micro enterprises in digitising their businesses in line with the digital economy goals for Brunei.
In 2021, Community for Brunei was named as Best Emerging Social Enterprise in the Brunei Special Award Category at the ASEAN Business Awards. Community for Brunei is part of BIBD’s contribution to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), specifically SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities) and by forming partnerships with relevant organisations, tackling a range of SDG issues affecting Brunei, in line with the bank’s commitment to sustainability and support for SDG’s.
Apart from championing social issues and giving a wider platform to local NGOs, Community for Brunei still provides a virtual marketplace for local micro enterprises.
Currently, there are more than 150 local vendors on the virtual marketplace. As part of the bank’s efforts to support micro enterprises during challenging times, merchant fees were waived for Community for Brunei vendors during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.