Strengths to propel Brunei’s SMEs

Posted on  31/05/2012  |  Media Centre

By Diyana Ibrahim

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Stuart Kemp, CEO Asia Inc Forum, presenting a souvenir to Hjh Normah Suria Hayati, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, during the seminar on Blue Ocean Strategy, which was held at The Empire Hotel and Country Club yesterday.Picture: BT/Diyana Ibrahim

Halal, clean and green environment

IT IS imperative for Brunei to ask what her strengths are in terms of diversification from the oil and gas sector, seeing that the Sultanate is a small country with limited resources.

This was highlighted by Hjh Normah Suria Hayati Pehin Jawatan Dalam Seri Maharaja Dato Seri Utama (Dr) Hj Mohd Jamil Al Sufri, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources (MIPR) during the seminar on Blue Ocean Strategy at The Empire Hotel and Country Club yesterday.

Speaking at the podium to the audience comprising participants described as “engines of growth, the enablers and those that make it happen”, she said that “we should ask ourselves ‘How do we compete with People’s Republic of China?’ (seeing that) they can produce almost everything with high quality”.

“With the blessing from Allah, Brunei Darussalam remains a strong Islamic country, still green with the blue sky and the clean air,” she said. “This is our strength to move forward.”

She mentioned that Brunei, via the MIPR, Ministry of Religious Affairs and Ministry of Finance has established the BruneiHalal brand, with products that are currently being marketed in Brunei and Singapore, as one of the country’s strengths.

“The trust in us as halal certification body partner with quality products from other countries add values that enable us to penetrate not only the local, regional but also the international market,” she said. “This initiative opens up lots of opportunities for our local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to partner with foreign companies, provide services such as logistic, supply of raw material, and many more.”

The brand is also a vehicle for local products to enter the market, she said, noting that the halal business is a lucrative one which serves nearly two billion Muslim population, “much more than the ASEAN 500 million population”.

Being a clean and green country is also another area which is conducive for economic growth.

“Brunei Darussalm is gearing herself to become partners in research and development in the area of life sciences,” she said, explaining that “consumers today are more conscious of the environment and that it is indeed trendy to be green and organic”.

“Through research and innovation, some noble products can be discovered such as natural colourings, health products, natural herbs, and many more that can create multi-billion dollar business,” she pointed out.

“There is no need for us to cut down the trees to make money.”

“Our biodiversity will become our source of wealth in the future (so) a lot of dedication, a lot of hard work and collaboration, a lot of investment will make this happen.”

According to the permanent secretary, both will bring a lot of opportunities for local SMEs to grow, and that bigger companies should work together to support the development of SMEs.

“We should no longer talk about a small market,” she said, “as the ASEAN’s 500 million population is at our doorstep.”

“It is time for us to be contemplative; and it is a huge opportunity out there, but the way forward is to determine the correct strategy and the correct products where Brunei Darussalam can play her role at her best,” she added.

The seminar on Blue Ocean Strategy, with the theme “Creating Breakthrough Growth in Your Business”yesterday, brought over 60 SMEs from various industries including retail, food and beverage, oil and gas, real estate, information and communication technology (ICT).

It is part of the 2012 Local Business Development Programme that is now on its ninth year, aiming to continuously nurture the development of Brunei SMEs by helping them to develop and grow their businesses through quality learning and building relationships with their peers in business and with other relevant organisations.

The seminar yesterday was facilitated by Dr Peter Ting, regional vice president in Operations and Market Innovation and Raj Kumar, director of Strategy and Innovation at the USCI Blue Ocean Strategy Regional Centre in Malaysia.

The Brunei Times