Staying ahead in a time of uncertainty

Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) continued its 10-part ‘BIBD SME360 Series’ with a virtual forum focussing on the retail and e-commerce industry.

The two-day forum began with discussions on retail trends in Brunei’s “new normal” with panelists Rano Iskandar from Ranoadidas, Andy Ngu from R&T Electronics and Ismail Mourad from Kensington BN sharing their experiences and observations from the retail and e-commerce industry sectors. The discussion touched on the opportunities and challenges businesses face in digitising operations and offering products and services online.

Other topics included the impact of social media in transforming retail operations, by Jason Pickett from Kingdom Rides, Haadi Bakar of Geekturf as well as Hamzah Kamis from Netcom Computer House. The final session of the first day touched on the WHYs and HOWs business owners can create an impactful and sustainable business, with Hitesh Bhawnani from YMRM Enterprise, Daniel Ooi from Singapore’s The Reject Shop as well as Chairperson of the ASEAN Business Alliance and President of the United Nations (UN) Association of Western Australia Dr Sandy Chong.

Day 2 of the virtual forum highlighted how small businesses pivot and deal with change during the pandemic with panellists Dona Johan of Dona J Lifestyle, SHIMCO Brunei CEO Priyanka Chugani and Laneige Brunei Managing Director Pat Li speaking about how businesses were forced to adapt in the new normal.

Panellists during the forum. PHOTO: BIBD

The forum also discussed trends in innovation and digitisation, and how businesses can adapt to the age of digital tech, by panellists ThinkAxis co-founder Rahman Yoonus, e-Marketplace Startup CTO Rueben Ravago and Archipelago Group COO Sean Yapp.

Topics on leadership in a time of change, leadership values and how to stay ahead of the curve to keep businesses agile and profitable in a time of uncertainty were the highlights in the final session presented by Ashley Furniture Managing Director Geraldine How and Cuckoo Managing Director Wong Kim Guan.

The SME360 SERIES, which runs from January to May 2022, features two industry highlights every month. The series of virtual forums aims to gather thought leaders and industry experts from 10 main business sectors across Brunei in engagement sessions with business owners and stakeholders to discuss the challenges, best practices, perspectives and opportunities to come back stronger.

The programme is organised by BIBD with DARe (Darussalam Enterprise) as strategic partner, co-curated by Firelight Sdn Bhd and Curious Mind. It is jointly 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, BIMP-EAGA, Young Entrepreneurs Association of Brunei (YEAB), Royal Brunei Catering (RBC), McDonalds Brunei, Serikandi Group, GoMamam, Ghanim International Corporation (bruneihalalfoods), Jab Gym, Hua Ho and Soon Lee.

BIBD Group’s strategic vision is aligned with His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s Vision 2035 and recently, through its sustainability framework, the bank aspires to complement the government’s efforts to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) by creating a holistic plan that contributes towards lasting economic growth, community empowerment, healthier lifestyles and more environmentally conscious production and consumption.

The bank hopes that the SME360 SERIES will benefit businesses and provide guidance and support towards the growth of a more vibrant, dynamic and sustainable enterprenuerial environment in Brunei – consistent with the bank’s role as the Partner in Progress.