Programme to help create roadmap for MSME digitalisation

Lyna Mohamad

DARe (Darussalam Enterprise) partnered with Young Entrepreneur Association Brunei (YEAB) and Big BWN Project for Go Digital ASEAN for Brunei, launched last week, which is set to impact 4,000 local youth and MSMEs.

During the country launch of Go Digital ASEAN for Brunei, representatives from the two implementing partners delivered their talking points on the initiative, during a joint press conference.

“The project came at a very strategic time, and with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing many businesses to rethink their current business model and their digital readiness out of necessity,” said YEAB President Nurliyana Fatin binti Arifin.

“With COVID-19 challenging the status quo of doing things, there has been interest among MSMEs to be more digitally ready and savvy.

“In addition, the government launched the Digital Economy Master Plan entailing Brunei’s plan to move into a Smart Nation, requiring industries to adopt and integrate digitisation into their businesses hence raising a massive opportunity to support digitalisation amongst MSMEs given the huge gap that exists.

Baseline studies and surveys since May have identified that some of the biggest impediments to digitalisation is the MSMEs’ lack of digital literacy and understanding of what digitalisation entails, due to limited exposure and know-how as well as accessible resources.

“So we hope that by the end of the programme in June 2021, we can come to realise a roadmap for MSME digitalisation which entrepreneurs could use as a guideline or pathway. At the moment, our hope is to move the MSMEs’ understanding of digitalisation beyond just social media and digital transaction to overall business optimisation.”

YEAB President Nurliyana Fatin binti Arifin and Noorhafizah binti Haji Rashid of Big BWN Project during the press conference. PHOTO: LYNA MOHAMAD

Nurliyana Fatin said that they are collaborating with key partners including Google Developers Group Brunei and Maven’s Hive and Eico, to roll out the programmes and reach out to various levels of MSMEs.

They are also working to engage with government agencies and key corporate partners, to establish collaboration opportunities aimed at creating impact and driving adoption of technology across industries.

Together with their partners, YEAB plans to launch programmes aimed at promoting the MSMEs’ shift and adoption of digitalisation.

This will be done through various initiatives including dialogues, seminars and workshops which aim to impart practical digitalisation tools that can be utilised by MSMEs in their business operations; deepening their understanding on the various stages of digitalisation; and empowering them to be more resilient, competitive and internationally ready.

The first session was held via Zoom on July 18, with co-founder of Think Axis Solutions Rahman Yoonus, co-founder and Chief Business Development Officer of Tyne Solutions Aimi Ramlee, and Founder and Chief Executive Officer of AGROME IQ International Dr Vanessa Teo.
“It was a wonderful and insightful session. We covered what digitisation looks like, how to start and whether it involves a lot of resources,” said Nurliyana Fatin.

“They really liked the session and are looking forward to more. There were so many questions and some were saying that the session was useful to their understanding and expectations on digitalisation.

“As for us at YEAB, we now understand the gap further and what capacity-building programmes we can add to the programme we are planning.”

Big BWN Project will meanwhile target 2,000 underemployed youth, 450 people from marginalised communities and indigenous groups, and 50 people with disabilities within the age group of 18-35 years.

A Bruneian projects brand established in 2015, Big BWN Project focusses mainly on youth development projects, young entrepreneurs, women empowerment and talents for community development by creating platforms for exposure, along with opportunities to build brands, businesses and skills; and also enabling those established online to have an offline relationship with their potential customers and audiences, especially the local public.

Noorhafizah binti Haji Rashid of Big BWN Project said they have conducted projects which received wide support from local agencies and ministries, in addition to partnering with many local and regional organisations to conduct various projects within Brunei and across the region.

“As for the Go Digital ASEAN project, we have multiple stakeholders that will be managing it with us, namely Nisai Brunei, Pakar Tenaga Bersatu, BAH Digital, AiTi, Comquest Brunei, BruCERT, Projek Feed and IBTE as our strategic partners,” she said.

“We will also be supported by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports and the STEP Centre under the Ministry of Education, to oversee this project successfully across the nation.”

Big BWN Project plans to conduct the project through a series of eight workshops for unemployed youth and eight programmes for marginalised communities, which will be conducted in all four districts from August 2020 to June 2021. They will also collaborate with parties specialising in working with people with different abilities.

For more information, visit the Big BWN Project’s website and their social media platforms on Instagram and Facebook.