Fifteen Brunei food and beverage (F&B) businesses from Darussalam Enterprise’s (DARe) developmental programmes recently joined Singapore’s biggest F&B tradeshow Food&HotelAsia-F&B (FHA-F&B) for the first time to explore new business opportunities and gain insight into industry best practices.
Returning from a four-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, FHA-F&B was held at the Singapore Expo from September 5 to 8, drawing over 2,000 exhibitors and more than 50,000 visitors from over 100 countries.
DARe operated a Brunei booth during the tradeshow which housed products from 12 businesses under their Elevate and Bruneian Made programmes.
Of the 12, four attended the event physically – A.Ayam Berjaya, Sabli Food Industries, Mori Enterprise, and Taurean Bakeshop & Café. The other participating businesses were Volco Venture, Ori, Bruhouse, M2Victoria, Syanisah, Syarikat Rizqussalam, Superfish Growers, and Tasconi’s International.
Meanwhile another three alumni and participants of DARe’s Kontena Park programme – Tasanne Fast Food, Mabel Trading (Pho Ngon), and Top Folk – joined FHA-F&B as visitors to attend the event’s seminars while also sourcing for ingredients and equipment from other exhibitors.
DARe’s participation in FHA-F&B is part of the organisation’s ongoing efforts to create an ecosystem that helps develop businesses at different stages of their life cycle.
Kontena Park is an F&B start-up development programme, offering affordable retail space to help participants market test and gain experience; while Elevate is a growth consultancy programme designed to help businesses move beyond the early-stage of their journey. The Bruneian Made programme ensures local producers have access to supermarkets, and soon it will have its own dedicated retail store.
“As economies and businesses look to rebound from the pandemic, participating in reputable tradeshows like FHA-F&B helps us to tap into growth opportunities. This can be in the form of new leads for potential supply, learning about the latest technologies to improve productivity, and gaining a better understanding of ongoing market demand and trends,” said Acting CEO of DARe Daniel Leong.
Visiting distributors and suppliers to the Brunei booth expressed interest in expanding their portfolio of halal products, and follow up engagements are currently being held to explore potential linkages.
Having received an encouraging response, Senior Manager of DARe’s Business Development and Support Nurul A’in binti Haji Jaafar, who led DARe’s delegation at FHA-F&B, said they hope they can expand Brunei’s pavilion in the coming editions not just with more local producers, but other businesses from Brunei’s F&B space including distributors and government-linked companies.
For local businesses such as Taurean Bakeshop & Café, who have now participated in several international expos with DARe, each experience takes them closer to their goal of export.
“As an small and medium enterprise (SME), exporting is the goal, but not something we can achieve overnight. We are committed, but at the same time also realistic that there are many steps along the way; we have to look at product quality, manufacturing standards, overseas requirements and the investment needed to achieve them,” said Taurean founder Tsang Poh Yee.
“We also need to measure interest and get feedback from overseas. This is where DARe has helped a lot, because we would not be aware of many of these opportunities without them. As business owners, sometimes we are so focussed on the day-to-day operations, that it’s hard to see beyond that. Being under Elevate has also given us coaching, which has helped offer us different perspectives; especially in handling the challenges of the pandemic, and making plans for the future.”
Following FHA-F&B, DARe representatives also met with Enterprise Singapore and the Singapore Food Agency who oversee enterprise development and food safety respectively; to seek out potential linkages, understand export requirements, and learn about the F&B sector in the city-state.
DARe also visited several F&B productions sites deploying innovative models including Smart City Kitchen – who have nine central cloud kitchen facilities across Singapore – and the JTC Food Hub @ Senoko, a seven-storey manufacturing facility targetting SMEs.
Businesses can learn of the latest programmes and opportunities offered by DARe through its website, dare.gov.bn, and social media channels @darussalamenterprise on Facebook and Instagram.