Standard Chartered (SC) Bank awarded a total of $15,000 grant to two local social enterprises for their best entrepreneurial ideas in tackling poverty and social issues in Brunei.
Kemari Farm received $10,000 for their winning social enterprise idea to open up an incubation programme that would teach and train 50 youths the essential farming skills to create job opportunities.
While BenchLab was awarded $5,000 grant for their Ruma-Ke-Ruma project, a home massage service provided by the underprivileged.
The enterprises are participants of the Youth Against Poverty programme in partnership for Futuremakers, a collaboration with Society for Community Outreach and Training (SCOT).
Futuremakers by SC is the bank’s new global corporate social responsibility initiative that aims to empower youth with education, employability and entrepreneurship opportunities.
The grand winner, Kemari Farm Enterprise is a farming start-up company operated by four agri-preneurs Muhammad Hafizuddin, Abd Wafee, Hj Muhammad Azim, Ahmad Malkan and Md Adli.
“We were initially surprised that we were chosen to win the grant because we were up against more established companies but we are grateful that we won. We are happy and excited to start our incubation project,” said its co-founder Muhd Hafizuddin Hj Awg Damit.
The one-month-year old company aims to provide youths who will be enrolling into the Youth Development Centre (YDC) and to raise awareness in the importance of farming and further developing the agriculture industry,
When asked about their next step, he said that they plan to use the grant to further develop their farmland in YDC and plans to set up three greenhouses with hydroponic systems.
“The first year is all about developing a functional farm so that in the next year, we can start teaching the youths essential farming skills related to hydroponics and then fertigation,” he added.
On his part, the co-founder of BenchLab Wan Farhan Hj Ibrahim said that the project will identify suitable candidates and raise their competency level in massage service.
“Once this project is achieved, the candidates will provide home massage service to customers and earn financial income,” he said.
He further explained that the majority of the grant will be spent on developing an app used to streamline the process for the sake of safety and convenience for all parties involved namely the masseuse, customer and the business.
He added that the concept has been proven successful in Indonesia. “The idea of Ruma-Ke-Ruma app was inspired by the app GoLife by Indonesian ride-hailing giant Go-jek.”
“We expect this project will help to uplift the masseuse from their underprivileged status. We are a team of four passionate individuals who want to create a positive impact in Brunei,” said the 27-year-old.
The YAP is the fourth annual edition of SCOT workshop that aims to educate youths to be aware of the existing social issues and empower the youths to form and plan entrepreneurial ideas to tackle social issues and build a Social Enterprise.
A total of 50 participants consisting of 10 teams joined the three-day workshops and forums with one day spent engaging youths from to understand the challenges the youths faced in gaining opportunities.
Through the workshop, participants were guided to formulate business ideas that are aimed to eradicate social issues and determine the sustainability success of the project.
Moreover, out of the 10 teams, five were chosen for a second round of pitching before the announcement of the two winners.
Project Leader of YAP 4.0 SCOT Chai Roslin said that during the final session, all five finalists presented and pitched their winning social enterprise solutions to combat poverty that incorporated the theme “Innovation Meets Inclusivity”.
CEO Standard Chartered Brunei Pg Aki Ismasufian Pg Hj Ibrahim lauded the participants for their passion, courage and perseverance displayed during the YAP programme.
“Through Futuremakers, we aim to empower the next generation to learn, earn and grow through programmes focused on education, employability and entrepreneurship, supporting disadvantaged young people from low-income households,” he said.
The winners will be monitored for 12-months and will also be offered guidance from local and regional social enterprise experts to continually progress their business ideas.
The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN