The first ever Local Product Expo 2022 was held at Bridex International Conference Centre in Jerudong during the Brunei December Festival 2022 from November 30 to December 4.
With an encouraging number of visitors, Nagawitra Works founder Jamarul bin Haji Dahlan said the expo had been a boon for his company as many locals are now more aware about the products in Brunei.
“We began operating in 2015 only offering carpentry products crafted by us. In 2018 we started producing laser engraved products. This is either the sixth or seventh expo we have participated in,” said Jamarul.
After participating in a number of expos, the founder shared that they decided to join more expos to further expose their products.
He was also hopeful that the expo will be held regularly to help local entrepreneurs highlight their products.
Displaying an array of beautiful vibrant coloured handcrafted bags and baskets was the Melilas Village Consultative Council (MPK) booth.
Like other participants of the expo, the MPK Melilas member Durratul’Ain binti Abdul Rahman Letan said they received encouraging response from members of the public.
“We have over a dozen of our members who make these handcrafted bags and baskets, and we’ve displayed them for sale. The making of handicraft bags is indeed a specialty of Kampong Melilas residents. This is our bread and butter.” Durratul’Ain said the skill has been taught to them from generations and some of their youth have picked up the skill and are dabbling in making the items.
“MPK Melilas is very active in participating in this kind of expo, and we were also brought to Thailand in 2017 to showcase our products. Even with the COVID-19 pandemic, we were able to make sales with the help of social media and personal contacts,” she added.
Echoing the sentiments of Jamarul, Durratul’Ain also hopes for a repeat of the expo in aiding her village. “We are village-based, and for people to come and visit us is not a very common occurrence. Participating in expos such as this will help us sell our products.”
She suggested that in further upgrading the expo, it can possibly be organised at a shopping complex that has more foot-traffic, and with enough advertisement, it can attract more visitors. Freshly participating in expos was Sofijalita Enterprise, as Manager Sofiah Ibrahim shared they have only previously participated in one expo prior to the Local Product Expo 2022.
She shared that they started operating in 2018, originally selling Nasi Lemak, but as the reception was quite lukewarm at the time, they came up with a new idea of creating ready-made spices, producing 14 different kinds which became widely accepted by the public, especially at expos.
“We conduct cooking demonstrations during the expo. We chose a demo on the final day of the expo to avoid finishing our products too early during this expo.”
She added that only after participating in their first expo did they realise that such events bring in good results. “The reception here has been encouraging and there’s also huge support from visitors. That’s what we hoped for from participating in the expo, as who else would support us if not locals?”
Further sharing that their products are only available at their own shop, Sofiah is hoping that the expo organisers will be able to either create more events or organise it once a year to allow local entrepreneurs to feel at ease introducing their products and increasing local support for local products.
“We hope to further introduce our products in all districts, and if possible, outside the country. We’re currently waiting for a feedback from the Agriculture and Agrifood Department to expand this product.”
The four-day event was organised by the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Economy, Ministry of Home Affairs and Darussalam Enterprise (DARe).