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Over 150 discuss F&B industry’s survivability in new norm

Izah Azahari

Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) kicked off its first 10-part of the ‘BIBD SME360 Series’ yesterday with a virtual forum discussing the food and beverage (F&B) industry in Brunei.

The two-day event began with discussions on the market overview during the Transition Phase of the pandemic, reflecting on market sentiments and how F&B businesses are adapting to the new norms.

Over 150 participants from the F&B industry attended the session yesterday.

The virtual forum also covered topics on leadership, operational safety, innovations as well as sustainability and social impact – in line with BIBD’s effort to help SMEs rebuild in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.

Speakers included CEO of DARe (Darussalam Enterprise) Javed Ahmad; BIBD Head of Government Relations and Special Projects Haji Mohammad Yusri bin Haji Wahsalfelah; Royal Brunei Culinary (RBC) General Manager Haji Jeff Hadiman bin Dato Paduka Haji Danial, CEO of Serikandi Group of Companies Revi Bhaskaran; Head of Brunei Climate Change Secretariat Noor Dina binti Haji Yahya; Managing Partner of Deloitte Zulfariq Zainuddin; Co-founder of Bake Culture Nicky Wong; and food influencer/blogger Thanis Lim.

Haji Mohammad Yusri, in his session titled ‘Protecting your staff and businesses from risk of COVID-19’, highlighted that strict adherence and compliance to the government’s standard operating procedures as well as guidelines on precautionary measures was key in ensuring the well-being and safety of all BIBD personnel were looked after.

ABOVE & BELOW: Food and beverage industry experts engage in discussion during the forum. PHOTOS: IZAH AZAHARI

Some participants during the forum

He also shared that BIBD’s business continuity plan also played a vital role in guiding the bank to navigate around the challenges of COVID-19 and in ensuring business operations remained smooth and orderly.

BIBD also introduced several initiatives to help businesses recover and remain resilient throughout the pandemic. Through its ‘Go!’ campaign launched during the first wave of COVID-19 in Brunei, BIBD promoted conducting banking needs on its digital platforms.

Local businesses were able to make use of BIBD Biznet allowing them to conduct business transactions online and make cashless payments to avoid the need to physically visit the
bank’s branches.

Meanwhile, BIBD’s corporate social responsibility initiative, Community for Brunei (CFB), launched during the first wave of COVID-19, also offered zero per cent transaction fees for micro enterprises affected by the COVID-19 control measures.

The public is welcome to join the ‘BIBD SME360 SERIES’ on F&B industry which continues today from 2.30-5.30pm by registering at curiousmind.biz/sme360.

The SME360 SERIES, which runs from January to May, will feature two industry highlights every month. The series of virtual forums aims to gather thought leaders and industry experts from 10 main business sectors across the Sultanate, in engagement sessions with business owners and stakeholders to discuss the challenges, best practices, perspectives and opportunities.

The programme is organised by BIBD in collaboration with DARe as its strategic partner, co-curated by Firelight Sdn Bhd and Curious Mind. It is also supported by 10 of Brunei’s major trade association partners and key market players namely the Malay, Chinese, Indian and National Chamber of Commerce, LiveWIRE Brunei, BIMP-EAGA, Young Entrepreneurs Association of Brunei, RBC, McDonald’s Brunei, Serikandi Group of Companies, GoMamam, Ghanim International Corporation (bruneihalalfoods), Jab Gym, Hua Ho and Soon Lee.

The upcoming series will cover the retail and e-commerce industry, from January 25-26. The bank hopes the SME360 Series will benefit businesses and provide all the advice and assistance towards growth of a more vibrant, dynamic and sustainable entrepreneurial environment in Brunei – consistent with the bank’s role as the Partner in Progress.

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