Bandar Seri Begawan - Young entrepreneurs must possess good basic ethics in conducting businesses. Although high technological innovation provides competitive edges, fundamental business principles are still extremely vital hence work morals such as honesty willingness to work hard and a sense of belonging to the country are several characteristics every entrepreneur should have.
This was highlighted by Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Awang Haji Mohammad Yasmin bin Haji Umar Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister's Office after the Ignite 2012 Business Plan Awards Ceremony at the Indera Samudra Grand Hall, The Empire Hotel and Country Club yesterday.
In an interview with the Bulletin, the minister said, "I went to a good restaurant that serves healthy food recently and the owner was a young entrepreneur who managed to focus on the niche market despite the restaurant business being very competitive. She dared to venture into a segment that very few entrepreneurs took interest in, which is serving nutritious food to promote a healthy lifestyle. The best part is her willingness to build the restaurant and employ 100 per cent locals. Her ingredients are also sourced locally.
"Despite her young age, the brave entrepreneur understood the context of the local business scene and took into account, the national interest. I congratulate and wish her more success that will motivate others to go beyond their comfort zones"
He also hoped that the lifeline of big successful economies worldwide is building on successful small-medium enterprises (SME) as entrepreneurships are the foundations of success for either a global or failed company.
During the awards ceremony, the minister touched upon the importance of continuous monitoring of past awardees to track the progress of their business as to whether it has expanded or failed. He also urged relevant parties concerned not be quick to condemn young entrepreneurs who have failed without firstly lending a helping hand to them.
The minister applauded the Brunei EconomicDevelopmentBoard (BEDB) for their efforts in setting up the iC entre as a significant initiative in grooming local entrepreneurs. "I was made aware that over the past five years, the iCentre incubation programme has supported 30 entrepreneurship ideas or projects and has provided direct high tech startup experiences to over 80 persons. The programmes have reached out to over 4,000 individuals locally and the iCentre has established itself as an important institution for ICT entrepreneurship in Brunei Darussalam."
Pehin Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Awang Haji Mohammad Yasmin also raised the question as to whether past awardees have been visited after the significant amount spent on awards, various programmes and financing schemes over the past five years? If they are successful, we must congratulate them and offer other assistances they may require to succeed further. Ifthey have failed, and I hope not, let us not be too quick in condemning them. We need to know the reasons behind those failures and whether appropriate interventions would have made a difference.
"Out of the 4,000 participants, how many have moved on to open up their own businesses or at least, are involved in managing businesses? Hopefully they are not included in the growing army of jobseekers in the country as one of the aims behind this programme is to enable them to stand on their own.
"The key to success in nurturing our SMEs to become strong enterprises is `Capacity Building'. This is a lifelong learning process. We must have the right people with the right abilities for the tasks in hand. I have seen companies with excellent business plans but are unable to proceed further due to various barriers. What are we doing to help them? We should help these businesses grow"
The minister explained that training and improving the entrepreneurship skills of youths is an excellent way to secure a sustainable economy.
Many countries such as China and Singapore have acquired the status of strong and stable economies through the contribution of SMEs.
Singapore is an excellent example. Despite hardly possessing any natural resources, the country are very successful in developing its SMEs by utilising its position as an important seaport. In the marine sector alone, they have over 5,000 companies employing 170,000 people. These SMEs contributed some B$20 billion or seven per cent of the city state's overall GDP.
"Our efforts to produce the best entrepreneurs can be best achieved by working on our resourcesm and leveraging the capacity and capabilities of our services industry.
Let's build on these assets and make our entrepreneurs able to survive in any environment, with or without our oil and gas. It is therefore a must that the trainings provided be useable by our existing industries.
"Some well-known SMEs started small in their own countries but have since moved on to become global service providers through adaptations and innovation, among others.
Schlumberger, Halliburtons and Wood Group are several companies that have achieved such successes thus far."
He also questioned the nation's successful initiatives in expanding local SMEs.
"I have visited some 70 companies. Most have revealed the tough competitions faced in dealing with the main oil and gas companies. I believe this predicament is due to the fact that everyone is involved in the same business and the-market for that particular category is congested.
The EnergyDepartment is earnestly trying to improve the situation by encouraging bigger players to advance to more challenging but higher reward categories."
The minister further explained that developing local Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) is multi-faceted and believes plenty of opportunities await entrepreneurs in the Sultanate.
He also revealed that the Brunei Shell Joint Venture is spending B$3 billion to B$4 billion annually on contracts and services alone.
"To be successful, an entrepreneur must be dynamic and imaginative whilst being able to identify the opportunity before it even appears on the horizon." He advised young entrepreneurs to be resourceful and explore the right opportunities.
--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin