LBD Programme to focus on Blue Ocean Strategy

Posted on  10/05/2012  |  Media Centre

By Danial Norjidi

From Left: Md Metussin, Effandi Hj Salleh, Delwin Keasberry, Yyvonne Chan and Shirley Leong. - DANIAL NORJIDI

Economic diversification is what the upcoming Local Business Development Programme (LBD) will be all about, with a focus on giving local SMEs the tools for them to take the opportunity of finding new products, new markets and new ways of doing business, through the use of the “Blue Ocean Strategy”.

The Executive Director of organisers Asia Inc Forum, Stuart Kemp, said this yesterday while responding to a question posed by the Bulletin during a press conference on the LBD yesterday at the Radisson Hotel.

Speaking on the significance of this year’s Local Business Development Programme and the Blue Ocean Strategy that will be brought in, he explained, “The Blue Ocean Strategy is about growth and innovation, but it ideally and perfectly fits with His Majesty’s Government’s desire for economic diversification.”

One big part of the strategy differentiates between a Red Ocean Strategy and a Blue Ocean Strategy.

The Red Ocean Strategy involves competing in existing market space, beating the competition, exploiting the existing demand, making the value-cost trade-off and aligning the whole system of a company’s activities with its strategic choice of differentiation or low cost.

In contrast, the Blue Ocean Strategy is about creating uncontested market space, making the competition irrelevant, creating and capturing new demand, breaking the value-cost trade-off and aligning the whole system of a company’s activities in pursuit of differentiation and low cost.

“Currently in Brunei we see SMEs competing in the red ocean – we see them competing on price, we see them competing on quality,” explained Mr Kemp. “What we’re looking to do through the Blue Ocean Strategy is get them to move to Blue Ocean, and if you see our partners Baiduri Bank and Microsoft are currently doing very well.”

“They’re always creating new products, or they’re looking at new markets, so we wanted to do other SMEs, and we’ve got two programmes here,” continued the Executive Director. “We’ll have a seminar, and we’ll have a more detailed workshop over a couple of days for SMEs who are ready to take that next growth.”

It could be around new products or it could be around finding a new market, he said, and in effect larger SMEs – or even smaller SMES – those who are ready for moving into overseas markets.

“It’s around what the opportunities are for diversification,” he highlighted. “There’re some great examples; Microsoft do this, and Baiduri Bank do this very well.”

He mentioned how Nokia used to be a timber company, and how it is now one of the largest telecommunications companies in the world, describing it as “a prime example of what Blue Ocean Strategy is.”

“We’re looking to give tools to our SMEs here in Brunei for the opportunity for them to find new products, new markets and new ways of doing business, so that’s why we’re looking at Blue Ocean Strategy this year,” he added.

Also speaking at the event was Delwin Keasberry, the Programs Manager of Asia Inc Forum, who, answering the same question, said, “Across the last two years, if we take a step back, in 2010 we focused on competition and its advantages, so we brought together SMEs in Brunei, and talked about how we apply strategies to separate you from other local competitors.”

“Last year we talked about growth,” he continued. “This year, as a progression, we’re talking about innovation. That goes hand-in-hand with how we see, in Brunei for example, a lot of things are happening.”

Citing Pulau Muara Besar as an example, he said that here there are a lot of things happening. “We see a lot of internationalisation, how doors are opening up, so we see the need for our local SMEs to be on par, if not getting there to say we’re Bruneian and we can play with the big boys at an international level.”

He expressed Asia Inc Forum’s belief that Blue Ocean Strategy is part of the plan for this year, and said that they and their partners all believe that for this year, as part of the big picture, innovation is one of the keys to moving forward.

Effandi bin Hj Salleh, the Head of the Entrepreneurial Development Centre, Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, represented MIPR as a major partner of the LBD.

Speaking at the press conference, he was quoted as saying, “As part of the Vision 2035, one of the goals is for us to introduce well-designed and funded programmes, to assist our SME development and to give them all the necessary skills and tools to succeed.”

He explained that having this Local Business Development Programme is very important because the government needs to work hand-in-hand with the private sector.

“We need to tap other resources from outside in order to do this, especially the expertise, so that having public and private partners together will create a more conducive environment in order to help SMEs to grow,” he explained.

“That’s why in one of the studies conducted by the Commonwealth, the consultant proposed that we should outsource most of our programmes to the private sector, for them to lead, especially on mentoring and advisory activities.

“We need to outsource it in such a way that we work together. The government will provide all the support that is necessary and then through the private sector.”

Yvonne Chan, Senior Manager of the Corporate Banking Division of LBD major partner Baiduri Bank also spoke at the press conference, saying, “We also consider ourselves as a SME, and the local market is very competitive, so as a local bank, we need to come up with a lot of new products and services to still maintain our market share of the business.”

She described the Brunei market as being quite saturated, before expressing her belief that SMEs have to constantly be innovative in their products, coming up with new ways of doing business so they can stay competitive.

“I believe through forums organised by Asia Inc, they have specific focus on this area, to help them maximise their potential,” she added.

Shirley Leong, Partner Manager of LBD Associate Partner Microsoft (B) Sdn Bhd said, “In terms of our partnership (with this event), we see potential in the SME space.

“Again, aligning to the national vision in building sustainable growth as well as to grow the local economy through the SME market, we think that to grow the key enabler is technology.”

The Partner Manager went on to talk about various innovative ways to do business through technology enablers, which they believe can help growth.

“In short, we want to support (the LBD) and we also want to reach out to a new audience,” she added.

Mohd Metussin, Co-Director of Indramas, another associate partner of the upcoming event, expressed his company’s satisfaction at being involved with the Local Business Development Programme.

The Local Business Development Programme 2012 will take place on May 30 at The Empire Hotel and Country Club, and will see a seminar on the Blue Ocean Strategy facilitated by Raj Kumar, Director of Strategy and Innovation at the UCSI Blue-Ocean Strategy Regional Centre in Malaysia.