Sunday, June 4, 2023
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Local businesses share struggles during pandemic

Azlan Othman

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerating digital transformation is the buzz word these days on how to use technology, how we work and how we do things on a daily basis said Progresif CEO Hajah Nurul Haniah binti Haji Mohd Jaafar at an interactive discussion on technology, innovation and creativity during the National Youth Day Convention at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Berakas yesterday.

She spoke on the challenges faced during the COVID-19 period.

“It is not easy to change customer’s behaviour. Digital transformation is about knowledge and skills.”

On creative economy, she said it is linked to the creative industry. “It is about turning ideas marketable and value added. Creative economy is where the future lies.”

Panellists also shared that COVID-19 have sped up digitalisation and inspired youth to be digital leaders and entrepreneurs.

Aleia (modest headscarf brand designed for women) co-founder Hajah Nurliyana binti Haji Marsini said COVID-19 affected them in terms of operation and supply chain.

“Customers used to go to shops and tried out the products. However, this was not the case during the pandemic. We had to divert to doing business online,” she said. “It was not easy.

The panellists during the discussion. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR

How customers make purchases from us is a challenge as the market outside Brunei is vast.

But we want to be different from others and we have created a different buying environment for them to remember us,” she added.

“We struggled during the pandemic and it was tough to get goods from our suppliers and shipping cost skyrocketed. People didn’t travel during the pandemic and instead purchased products locally,” she added.

Meanwhile, SuperSquad BN founder Faezal Murni said during the pandemic, it was difficult as contact sports was not allowed.

“But we came up with a solution which focussed on non-contact sports such as badminton,” he said.

He shared that his passion in sports rose when he toured the Silicon Valley during a trip organised by the Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB) to observe what products were successful. He also shared that they launched their products in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah but was discontinued due to the pandemic.

Chair of ASEAN University Student Network Aimuni Suffian shared that they collaborated with partners abroad through Zoom and Microsoft teams, adding that digital transformation is important especially in the era of fourth industrial revolution (IR).

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