Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam’s (BIBD) SME360 Series came to a close yesterday, with a session discussing ‘Vision and Leadership in the New Frontier’, and a closing keynote delivered 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.
The SME360 Series finale themed ‘The New Frontier’, aimed to encourage a lively discussion on the greatest lessons throughout the series of forums and strategies for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to prepare for the new business environment in the post-pandemic world.
The sessions also looked at the importance of SMEs in carrying out responsible practices, and outlined the national vision for SMEs.
The 10-part SME360 Series has been running since January 2022, featuring two industry highlights every month, aimed at gathering thought leaders and industry experts from nine main business sectors across the Sultanate in engagement sessions with business owners and stakeholders to discuss the challenges, best practices, perspectives and opportunities to come back stronger.
According to BIBD, the SME360 Series will be taken up as a regular yearly event as part of the bank’s efforts to continue supporting local enterprises navigate current issues, opportunities and latest developments in the business arena.
The closing session featured a high level discussion on factors affecting Brunei’s business outlook in 2022 and beyond, especially with the re-opening of borders, inflation, supply chain disruptions and staff shortages in the wake of COVID-19.
The panellists at the session featured Permanent Secretary (Economy) at the Ministry of Finance and Economy (MoFE) Dr Hajah May Fa’ezah binti Haji Ahmad Ariffin, Acting Chief Executive Officer of Darussalam Enterprise (DARe) Daniel Leong, Head of Corporate Relationship Management at BIBD Andy Lim, Adjunct Professor at Universiti Brunei Darussalam School of Business and Economics and Founder of Shazali & Partners Haji Shazali bin Dato Haji Sulaiman, and President of the Young Entrepreneurs Association of Brunei (YEAB) Nurliyana Fatin binti Ariffin.
The panellists also discussed new realities and challenges in the new frontier, and explored their visions for a more prosperous SME community and the roles that SMEs play in contributing to the economy.
Earlier in the day, the opening session featured reflections in adaptation, innovation and resilience as well as the greatest lessons learned from the SME360 Series. The panel speakers comprised Head of Structured Finance at BIBD’s Corporate Banking Group Abdul Azim bin Haji Mohammad, Director of Strategy and Operations at Hoco Agency Josh Lew, co-founder of Gong Cha and Bake Culture Nicky Wong, and Tourism Development Department Acting Director Salinah binti Haji Mohd Salleh.
Among the topics discussed were best practices, solutions and experiences in terms of human resources, innovation and business development, communications, adaptations as well as advice to SME’s on cashflow and how to avoid potential pitfalls. The panellists looked back on the SME360 Series to highlight their biggest takeaways from the various sessions, and the lessons that each speaker could take from COVID-19.
Also included during the morning session was a discussion titled ‘Why Responsibility Matters’, exploring the question: why doing good is good for business? The panellists also discussed the role that businesses play in contributing to sustainability and environmental solutions, as well as the steps that business operators can take in order to practice sustainable leadership.
The panel members were Head of Corporate Digital and Business Development at BIBD Haji Shamri bin Haji Mahali, founder of Agrome IQ International Dr Vanessa Teo, and General Manager of BUE and Managing Director of Asia Pacific Central, Curecrete Distribution Chris Yong.
Also joining the discussion were a youth leader for Brunei Council on Social Welfare and mentor for Girls for Girls Brunei Natasha Halim and Founder of EnEvo Siti Norasyidah binti Haji Kariya.
The SME360 Series was held as part of BIBD’s support for Economy Week organised by the MoFE at the Brunei Mid-Year Conference and Exhibition 2022 (Brunei MYCE 2022).
BIBD Group said that their strategic vision is aligned with Brunei Vision 2035, and through its sustainability framework, the bank aspires to complement the government’s efforts to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) by creating a holistic plan that contributes towards lasting economic growth, community empowerment, healthier lifestyles and more environmentally conscious production and consumption.