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We are committed to boosting MSMEs through customised financing: BU

In response to the letter, ‘Financial support for small businesses crucial’, published in the Opinion page on March 23, 2024, it is imperative to highlight the pivotal role that micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) play in bolstering Brunei’s economy. These enterprises are crucial contributors to economic diversification, job creation and overall economic resilience.

Recognising their significance, Bank Usahawan (BU) and the Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB), through Darussalam Enterprise (DARe), are committed to providing comprehensive support to MSMEs, ensuring their growth and sustainability.

BU offers tailored financing products and integrated assistance to MSMEs, which are normally not provided by the conventional banks. We seek to address the pain points of these enterprises, from the urgency to meet business cash flow needs to acquiring equipment and other fixed assets for expansion and venturing into new projects. The bank strictly upholds Syariah, and thus, adheres to responsible financing and client protection principles.

By the end of February 2024, BU has extended more than BND39 million in financing to over 600 MSMEs. The financing ticket can be as low as BND1,000. The bank ensures that the financing facility’s tenor or maturity is comfortable to the client, given their cash flow and business needs. Applications are typically processed within a week, but can be faster, depending on the client’s response time in submitting the required information and documents.

The bank requires the business to be in operation for at least 12 months to be eligible for financing. It holds significant importance in the context of mitigating risk and fostering responsible entrepreneurship. It reflects a balanced approach that acknowledges the challenges faced by MSMEs, while promoting accountability that will ultimately contribute to the growth and resilience of Brunei’s business landscape. Compared to conventional banks, BU’s requirement period is notably shorter, reflecting an understanding of the challenges faced by MSMEs, particularly in their early stages.

Being a financial institution founded on customer centricity, the bank ensures that the requirements and processes are simple. It offers flexibility in terms of financing collaterals, and promotes responsible pricing. BU also considers the unique character of each enterprise and provides a landscape of solutions that serves its best interests.

Since the start of this year, the bank has intensified its collaboration with DARe, the agency mandated to ensure that local MSMEs are equipped with the necessary skills, knowledge and capability. DARe offers a wide array of support services to MSMEs, including financing opportunities in partnership with various stakeholders, such as investors and financial institutions.

Combining DARe’s capability-building support and other business-strengthening initiatives with BU’s aims to meet the financing needs of MSMEs, the collaboration boosts the support ecosystem for MSMEs, empowering them with necessary skills, knowledge and financial backing to build robust business models and thrive in the market.

Information on BU’s products and services can be obtained from its website at www.bankusahawan.com.bn, or call 2233330/2233331; and DARe’s capacity-building programmes at www.dare.gov.bn or call 2384830.

Bank Usahawan

PHOTO: ENVATO
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