State-owned Ghanim International Corporation recently launched ‘The Junction’ Retail Entrepreneurship Programme aimed at strengthening local participation within the retail industry, with three new ‘The Junction’ Convenience Stores officially opened.
The new stores are located at ‘The Korner’ of Armada’s Tungku Estate, where the launching ceremony took place, BIBD Connects Lambak and the Mentiri Community Hall, operated by Bruneian youths who underwent a selection process by Ghanim and training by Darussalam Enterprise (DARe)
According to Ghanim, ‘The Junction’ a structured retail entrepreneurship development programme developed as a platform for local participation in the convenience store business and a route for MSME products to reach the market.
With this, Ghanim will act as a facilitator to promote local young entrepreneurs to act as franchisees by operating ‘The Junction’ Convenience Stores.
Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister of Finance and Economy Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah said that through the programme, entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to experience “firsthand day-to-day operational requirements to operate convenience stores and gain exposure”.
Aside from this, they will also have the chance to understand “market dynamic, demands and needs”, he continued, while expressing hopes that local youths would rise to the opportunity provided by the government and “take on the challenge to be successful”.
“Support will also be provided to ensure sufficient stocks and supplies and detailed training in running the shop. Hopefully, through this initiative, more local entrepreneurs will succeed in their businesses,” added the minister who also officiated the launch.
YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew went on to say that ‘The Junction’ concept focuses on a small-format design rather than a large retail space, a rather enabling framework that trains youth to establish, operate and grow a convenience store.
Additionally, aside from financial management, the programme will also assist entrepreneurs in other aspects of entrepreneurship such as procurement and accounting, with the ultimate goal of allowing those involved, be it the business operator, suppliers or even customers, through constant interaction and information shared
“In the past, we often heard of the poor participation of locals in the convenience store business due to various challenges and barriers face to participate in the retails sector,” said Ghanim CEO, Dr Nur Rahman.
These hurdles include “the lack of start-up and working capital, lack of expertise from the procurement, daily operations and overall supply chain management among others, he added.
Nevertheless, he believed that the opening of the three new ‘The Junction’ Convenience Stores will provide opportunities for young people to take part in an exciting entrepreneurial journey with a strong support system.
He went on to highlight Ghanim’s role in the programme which is to not only facilitate the set-up of the stores but also manage the supply of goods from the suppliers in an effort to eliminate potential barriers in the convenience store operation.
The evolution of The Junction
‘The Junction’ was established in 2018 under Ghanim to make local MSME products accessible at key locations, which then lead to the establishment of six The Junction kiosk outlets at various locations, including at Brunei International Airport and the Ministry of Finance and Economy building.
“When Ghanim started with kiosks, we saw the potential in letting locals take over and open stores, over time we started to develop a brand and we arrived at The Junction,” YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew explained
“We developed franchisee agreements so local Bruneians can come into this retail industry, and offer employment opportunities to other Bruneians as well,” he added.
‘The Junction’ Convenience Stores feature a wide selection of fast-moving daily essentials, household items, food products and ready meals, which will also act as a platform for the distribution and promotion of MSMEs, home-based and cottage industry products including 1K1P products.
According to Ghanim’s Business Strategy and Development Manager Fatin Ariffin, to be eligible for the programme, they should have a good credit record, are self-motivated, disciplined, committed to long working hours and possess good management skills.
“Successful applicants must also complete a capacity building programme with DARe (Darussalam Enterprise) with satisfactory performance,” she said.
“The selected entrepreneur also fronts 50% of the initial stock value (value of the stock would vary depending on the size of the outlet and stock selected),” she explained.
“The entrepreneur would start paying for the capital expenditure (CAPEX) in monthly installments after six months of the store being operational, for the next five years (and) over time, they will fully own the store,” she said.
She added that Ghanim will also monitor and host regular engagements with franchisees, and provide them with a franchise manual providing guidelines on how to operate as well as branding and marketing support.
As for future plans, Fatin shared that Ghanim will continue opening more The Junction Convenience Stores in the coming months and years at key strategic locations.
THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN