| Danial Norjidi |
EIGHT local start-up companies signed a contract agreement to receive an approximate amount of BND140,000 in total from the LiveWIRE Brunei Business Awards Start-Up Funding Scheme (BASfs) during a signing ceremony at the Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) Headquarters in the capital yesterday.
The scheme was launched in 2018 by the Brunei Shell Petroleum Company Sdn Bhd (BSP) via LiveWIRE Brunei in collaboration with BIBD, to support the country’s continuous efforts to diversify economically active participation for the rapid development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Brunei Darussalam.
The eight start-up companies, which are the second batch of funding scheme recipients, have been listed as: Good Deal Employment Agency; Sif Publication; Santai-Santai Shooting Kafe and Grill; Norbayu Enterprise; U Nos K2 Enterprise; Syarikat Al Rasyid; Perusahaan Zulianamasnawi; and Hyren Agrotex Global Success Enterprise.
Deputy Permanent Secretary (Corporate and Industry) at the Ministry of Energy, Manpower and Industry Hajah Tutiaty binti Haji Abdul Wahab was the guest of honour.
Other attendees included BIBD’s senior management, senior government officials, BSP leaders, and LiveWIRE participants and recipients.
The BASfs is specifically for Bruneians participating in the LiveWIRE Brunei Business Awards in the following categories: Category A (Business Plan) for LiveWIRE programme participants; and Category B (Enterprise) for LiveWIRE Business Start-Ups (six months to three years in business).
The nominees are awarded for the feasibility and future potential of the business in Category A; and sustainability, good governance and growth potential in Category B.
The Business Award Council – comprising a panel of judges from BSP, BIBD, Brunei Shell Marketing Company Sdn Bhd (BSM) and LiveWIRE Brunei officials – was set up to establish the authority body for effective selection of finalists and winners as recipients of the BASfs.
The eight companies in categories A and B were offered the opportunity to nominate themselves for the Business Award funding in presenting to the council members their business proposals, as well as how the funding scheme would be used to support their company growth and repayment plans.
The amount of funding will be a percentage of the initial capital to allow the immediate start-up of business. It ranges from a minimum of BND5,000 to a maximum of BND30,000, and is payable within a 36-month flexible term, interest-free period.
All financial and banking administration matters are conducted together with the BIBD. The number of awards is determined by the number of business winners nominated and approved by the Business Awards Council after the presentation of business plans and an interview by the council.
In addition to the terms of the BASfs, LiveWIRE Brunei requires a legal commitment of the scheme participants to be bound by exclusive terms and conditions, to ensure the scheme’s effective and efficient execution. This includes the compulsory acceptance of a mentoring appointment to assist the scheme participants.
Upon signing the contract agreement, LiveWIRE Brunei and BIBD will assist the recipients in depositing the grant, monitoring their accounts and managing funds.
Senior Manager of Corporate Banking at BIBD Pengiran Haji Sanusi bin Pengiran Haji Ismail, in his welcoming remarks affirmed that BIBD has been actively supporting initiatives by LiveWIRE Brunei in nurturing and grooming young businesses. “It is a great pleasure for BIBD to be given the opportunity collaborating with LiveWIRE Brunei to administer the financial mechanism of this BASfs,” he said.
He added that BIBD not only provides the participants with a platform to receive and collect repayment funds, but also adds value with complete packages. “We provide them with banking solutions, digital payment and business advisories.”
In-Country Value Manager at BSP and Chairperson of LiveWIRE Brunei Hajah Rosita binti Haji Hassan in her speech said, “Today marks another milestone in the collaboration between LiveWIRE Brunei and BIBD, as the second batch of LiveWIRE BASfs [have signed] their respective funding agreements.”
She noted that the first five recipients of the funding scheme received their award in August 2018.
“Today we will see another eight recipients who will go through the same journey, starting up their business with the support of a flexible and interest free funding scheme payable over three years. During this period, these entrepreneurs will have access to business mentors to provide them guidance and support.”
She noted that for this second batch of funding scheme recipients, the judging panel observed a number of improvements. “The business ideas are bold, yet very thoughtful, with everyone offering unique value proposition for their customers,” she said. “All of them have their own stories to tell about the business that they have chosen, and why most of these begin with trying to solve real problems.”
She also highlighted that this is the first time the funding scheme has been awarded to four young rice farmers. “We are grateful to be given this opportunity to support them and an opportunity to raise the status of the farming profession as a lucrative career choice with a rewarding income.
“Insya Allah, four farmers will be given mentors in the areas of rice farming and business management. Our aim is to see that they all will become successful farmers and entrepreneurs, not just in rice production but also in services related to rice production.”
She explained that the amount collectively awarded to the eight recipients is a commitment from BSP, as the sponsor of the funding programme, to see the development and growth of Bruneian businesses as part of its ‘Fit for Future Strategy on People and Country’.
“Our In-Country Value objectives are centred on two key deliverables: to increase employment of Bruneians and increase spending in the country,” she said. “We believe that creating more Bruneian businesses which employ Bruneians will stimulate this growth, and success will depend on collaborative efforts from all parties, especially from the local SMEs to put Brunei and Bruneians as their first priority.”