BBBF to coach startups supported by DARe following MoU

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British High Commissioner to Brunei, Richard Lindsay (C) witnessing Chairman of Britain Brunei Business Forum, William Martin (L) and Chief Executive Officer of Darussalam Enterprise, Javed Ahmad (R) exchanging the contracts during the MoU signing ceremony between Britain Brunei Business Forum and Darussalam Enterprise held at the Design & Technology Building, Anggerek. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

Waqiuddin Rajak

The Britain Brunei Business Forum (BBBF) is set to mentor startups supported by Darussalam Enterprise (DARe) following a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the two parties today.

The mentorship style however, will be conducted informally as to develop “chemistry” between the mentors and the mentee; making it possible for them to develop business partnerships in the future, said BBBF Chairman William Martin (pictured).

“It is done informally and only on voluntary bases because BBBF does not want to force anyone to do anything they do not want to…if anything, it should be a choice agreed by the two parties,” he told the media at a ceremony held for the MoU signing.

BBBF members coming from a diverse backgrounds will assist startups in strategising their business plans whenever required to do so, he explained.

At the same time, the startups are also encouraged to volunteer themselves for the mentoring whenever necessary, as the agreement entailed a two-way voluntary bases; with the two parties being free of commitment until both agreed to do so.

BBBF Chairman William Martin in an interview. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman
The BBBF was founded under the patronage of the British High Commission in Brunei to enable British and Bruneian business people to meet together in order to further trade.

It currently has about 40 to 45 core members who came from specialised backgrounds such as education, finance, insurance, health and safety as well as defence and advertising, media and public relations.

“All of these skills can be deployed to any entrepreneurs needing their exact assistance,” the BBBF chairman said.

“Where they clearly needed help, I feel that we could give them that assistance, because we have the skills and experience in that area,” he added.

Martin, who is also a director for education consultancy firm Findlay said he had experience and knowledge to be shared with startups with education as its business core.

Prior to the agreement, he had already brought Grominda, a local startup who developed the Plus-EXP, an online platform that puts together employers and internship seekers at one of its study in UK fair.

The signing of the MOU showed the role of BBBF’s members in supporting DARe’s vision of creating an entrepreneurial spirit in the sultanate, said Richard Lindsay, British High Commissioner to Brunei.

“I hope this will make a significant contribution to the achievement of the Wawasan 2035 goals. We should thank the BBBF committee for their initiative in driving this forward,” he said.

Chairman of Britain Brunei Business Forum, William Martin (3rd L) and Chief Executive Officer of Darussalam Enterprise, Javed Ahmad (3rd R) signing the MoU. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

Javed Ahmad, CEO of DARe, welcomed BBBF’s support, and was quoted in a statement as saying: “BBBF have worked hard with us to develop this initiative.The Forum has a diverse membership who will add considerable value to our incubatee companies, with their experience and we look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship.”

“This ceremony marks the culmination of talks between BBBF and DARe to put together a support network for start-ups,” said William Martin, Chairman of BBBF.

“We have been impressed by the energy and professionalism of many of the start-ups we have already met and look forward to working with them in the future,” he added.

Held at the Design and Technology Building in Kg Anggerek Desa, DARe in the statement said the ceremony “stemmed from a BBBF initiative to better understand the role and purpose of DARe and to identify ways in which the BBBF might help MSMEs through DARe by drawing on the wide range of skills and experience which its membership has to offer.”

The Design & Technology building at the Anggerek Desa Technology Park. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

The BBBF assists Bruneian businesses in finding British partners for enhancing both parties business performance and circulates information about business opportunities with Britain through the Bruneian business community.

It also provides a diverse and inclusive network to build opportunities for British, international and local organisations in Brunei with ties to British business.

DARe is a statutory body that nurtures and supports local enterprises to encourage their growth and ultimately enable them to contribute to Brunei’s economy.

It develops local enterprises by assisting in capacity building, facilitating access to funding, access to international markets as well as providing industrial spaces for SMEs to grow, business support services, and promotional services.

The Bruneian