Bandar Seri Begawan - A local company that created the already well-known and award-winning 'SocialDeal' founded by a young UBD undergraduate, Hiro Tien, came back this year as the grand prize winner with their project 'The Gigland' bagging $20,000 during the THINK BIG Ignite 2012 Business Plan Awards ceremony held at The Empire Hotel & Country Club yesterday.
In an interview with the Bulletin, Hiro Tien expressed that it was pure joy when his company was called on stage, mainly because, according to him, he came out from inside the judging room during a previous selection process with mixed feelings.
"It was nerve-wrecking, The judges were quite strong. They were really drilling up to the point that you stared doubting your own project. But of course deep down I still believe what my product was all about," he said.
"During the awards ceremony, while all the consolation winners were called out, I wasn't really expecting anything. And when the grand prize was about to be called, my confidence level dropped to its lowest point but the moment my company's name was called up, I beamed with pride and started to have instant flashbacks on all the hard work we had put in since last year. It was truly an amazing experience," he said.
The Ignite 2012 Business Plan Awards is one of the biggest entrepreneurial events in the Sultanate and it is still the biggest prize money award of its kind in Brunei Darussalam for the ICT industry SocialBuzz won the grand prize under the ICT Open Business Plan Category.
'The Gigland' is visualised as a whole new way to connect individuals with talents/skills with their services geo-tagged to specific locations on a projected interactive world map, creating a global location-based marketplace for the buying and selling of MINI/MICRO services, anywhere and anytime.
Musegeek Technologies won second place under the ICT Open Business Plan Category whilst PHMD Publishing and Mediahikmah shared the third place.
In the College and Students Category; Bruelit led the pack, followed by K Ayer Sensation as second place winner and Inkprints in third place.
Singaporean company Jublia was awarded in the International Category and Tapmind from Sri Lanka received a consolation award.
The Most Innovative Award went to Musegeek Technologies.
The prize presentation ceremony was held at Indera Samudra Ballroom, The Empire Hotel and Country Club yesterday afternoon. Present as guest of honour was Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Awang Hj Mohammad Yasmin bin Hj Umar, Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister's Office.
Also present was Dato Paduka Awg Hj Ali bin Hj Apong, Deputy Minister at the Prime Minister's Office and Chairman of the Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB) as well as Dr Lily Chan, CEO, NUS Enterprise.
Other attendees included permanent secretaries, ambassadors, officers from BEDB, AITI, government and private offices, banks, representatives from ICT companies and business communities.
In his opening remarks, Kwok Leong, 'Centre Director expressed his delight in the overwhelming response reaching a record breaking number of 129 total business plans submitted with every category almost doubled in applicants.
"What we can make of this marked increase in submission is that we are seeing a trend towards greater entrepreneurship focus by Bruneian youths and the likelihood of our Ignite and 'Centre programmes have actually helped gear their mind-set towards starting up businesses. This bodes well with the iCentre initiatives to further promote SME development in Brunei Darussalam," he said.
"In the Ignite competition and especially iCentre, we constantly work with budding entrepreneurs on business plans and we also seek to innovate by introducing new ideas and new ways to effectively transform a good idea into a viable business plan," he said.
As part of 'Centre's effort to increase youth participation in ignite 2012, he spoke of one of the recent initiatives introduced in collaboration with Brunei Economic Development Board which is the Entreprenuership@Campus or E@C. This programme is an intensive two-day bootcamp held last year at Universiti Brunei Darussalam's campus.
"The boot camp attracted over 60 applicants aid only 36 were selected to participate. The boot camp created eight projects and some of them went to submit their business plans for Ignite. The experience was enriching and exciting for the university participants as this is the first time that a boot camp-type of business planning session in Brunei was held," he said.
The outcome of, the students' boot camp has even produced professional-like quality of business plans that has qualified them into the Open Category.
"The Open Category puts them into competition with the best of the best adult participants in Brunei and this is a no mean feat for students that have no working experience. I would really salute them for their tenacity and a strong belief in themselves. These are qualities that a successful entrepreneur would have. Though these two projects did not make it to the finals, they deserve special mentions. They are projects Bajutik and Project Phoenix Getaway" the iCentre Director said.
This year, iCentre has added a new award dubbed the 'Most Innovative Award' to recognise potentials with the most outstanding and creative business plans where they stood to win $3,000.
A total of 40 participants were shortlisted this year where they underwent workshop and mentoring sessions to improve their entrepreneurial skills set and finalise their best business plans.
After rounds of intense mentoring sessions and presentations, eight teams made it to the final cut.
Hiro Tien, founder of SocialBuzz and winner of Ignite 2012 Business Plan Awards captured the judges' attention with his product dubbed The Gigland'.
Under the auspices of Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB), iCentre was established to facilitate ICT startups and provide comprehensive incubation programmes with the aim of identifying, nurturing and showcasing entrepreneurial talents.
The great benefit ended this Ignite programme is that it grants the participants access to global resources and the entrepreneurial process through various workshops and mentoring conducted throughout the competition.
Ignite 2012 Business Plan Award partners are Universiti Brunei Darussalam and AITI supported by BEDB and Asia Inc Forum.
--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin