27 Bruneian startups begin a journey. Who will make an impact?

DARe will kick off its flagship training programme – a 100 day accelerator called Startup Bootcamp – next week

What do a dance teacher, ice cream maker, woodworker, coffee aficionado and a group of filmmakers have in common?

They’re all part of a group of 27 startups, who are about to embark on the second cycle of DARe (Darussalam Enterprise) Startup Bootcamp – who will make ambitious targets for getting a new business off the ground or taking an existing business to the next level across a period of 100 days.

The litmus test will come at the very end of the 15 weeks – where the lights will dim and the startups will take centre stage before a panel of local and regional investors, and in true demo day fashion – make a pitch for why they deserve your investment.

The group met last Tuesday to listen on a briefing about the bootcamp, meeting also with DARe CEO Javed Ahmad and Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB) CEO and mentor Soon Loo.

The programme will kick off next week Saturday, and will see these startups go through an intensive set of weekly classes and check-ins which will cover everything from marketing to operations.

Here’s a rundown of the startups, and their plans to bring something new and unique to Brunei.

FOOD HERO

Food Hero's Travis Lim and Serit Ajut
Travis Lim (L) and Serit Ajut

Brunei is booming with micro food businesses – many of them making from home, without a distinguishable storefront. The two biggest problems such vendors will run into: building awareness and running deliveries. Food Hero – a mobile platform built specifically to promote and facilitate logistics for small food and beverage operators – seeks to remedy exactly that.

LOKAL ROOTS

BCHj Abdul Azim and Adi Zekwan
Hj Abdul Azim (L) and Adi Zekwan

Looking to make popular urban farming in Brunei – that is planting in small spaces; whether your backyard, rooftop or abandoned buildings or areas. Looking to only use natural fertilisers and pesticides, with an eye on supplying first to eateries and then to the wider community.

NURTURE ENTERPRISE & SPECIAL NEEDS LEARNING CENTRE

BCJodie Lim, Mccoy Chin and Chian Mei
Jodie Lim (L), Mccoy Chin (C) and Chian Mei (R)

Two business ideas between the three of them. One is trying to set up a centre that caters to special needs students using an education programme that they can franchise to other centres. The other is bringing farming into schools to get kids to go outdoors, get hands on learning in order to get them to eat more nutritiously.

TEAM ONE

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Muhd Al-Akif Irfan (L) and Muhd Amin Hj Fauzul (R)

Winners of the student category of Brunei’s first National ICT Hackathon B{CODE}, Team One are looking to build a bus tracking app that will tell you what bus you need to catch to get to your desired location as well as when and where you’ll be able to catch it. You can read more about their app here.

BRUMEDI

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Ak Mohd Zulfikri Pg Hj Zaulkifl

A nursing student looking to set up a company manufacturing medical equipment that caters to the demands and sensibilities of Muslim patients.

DIY RETRO

diy retro

Taken social media by storm with a combined following of over 20,000, DIY Retro’s unique selling point is making furniture with a rustic aesthetic from recycled wood palettes. With demand from customers exceeding his current ability to supply (he’s the only full-time member of his team), Hafiz (pictured) is looking to build a team and gain financing to be able to produce a signature line instead of focusing exclusively on custom orders – which take considerable time. You can read his full back story here.

FILTERWORKS PRODUCTIONS

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Aaqiil Ahmad (2nd L) with his team from Filterworks

If you’re active on browsing for locally produced videos on social media, chances are you’ve already come across this merry bunch – known for their comedic skits with Bruneian humour – which garner tens of thousands of views per video. They’re looking to mix their brand of humour to producing cutting advertisement and are looking at putting out their first television series.

Rumah Gelato

RG

Without an investor, financial expertise or the backing of a well-known franchise, Mordeny (pictured) has built from the ground up a homegrown ice cream brand that is going toe-to-toe with established imports. From his own kitchen, to his small half-sized shop lot in Kiulap, Rumah Gelato has ambitious plans – including opening more branches in the future. Read his backstory here.

POWRHOUS FITNESS (Headhunter Sport)

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Yusuf Flynn (R) and his wife Aziemah Flynn

Put simply, locally made rugby jerseys that its New Zealand born founder Flynn, vouches is just as – if not more – durable that mainstream rugby wear. Using a proprietary microfiber blend with reinforced stitching, Flynn already has teams wearing the jersey in Europe, and has a steady line of customers on demand who he can supply to – if he finds a site and financing to scale up his business. Read their story here.

PRO-EVENT MANAGEMENT

pro

Muhammad Hijan Hj Amran’s (pictured) dream is to set up a multi-sport recreational facility. But for now, he’s looking to consolidate the growing local demand for playing sports, other than the traditional mainstays of football and basketball. Rugby, dodgeball, frisbee are some of the sports on his list, and he’s looking to spruce things up by hosting competitive contests with proper prizes.

RELENTLESS ENTERTAINMENT BRUNEI

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Founder Mardi Hedus

What began as a dance studio with classes, and evolved into amphitheater sized musicals, Relentless Entertainment has steadily progressed to the forefront of Brunei’s performing arts scene, and are now looking at regional expansion and collaborations to continue progress.

TWENTYFIVE.BN

ITSAGRIND

The man who brought It’s A Grind Coffee to Brunei wants to bring his very own line of ready-to-drink cold brew bottled coffee – which he claims is the first of its kind in Brunei – to supermarkets nationwide and abroad. To put it more specifically for the coffee aficionados:  “specialty grade, nitrogen infused, cold brew and fusion cold brew coffee”.

SIMPLY GOOD EATS

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Couple Siti Fatimah Masayu and Yusuf

You’re feeling lazy, or can’t be bothered to cook – but you’re still feeling hungry, and you want to eat for cheap. Married couple from Belait Masayu and Yusuf, who are the owners of the district’s sole cube store focusing on selling freshly cooked food, are looking to debut a line of frozen food dishes that are partially cooked, and simply need to put in the microwave or oven to be ready. By using wholesome ingredients, Simply Good Eats hopes to stay true to its name and be at the frozen section of a retailer near you.

PIXELATED

pixelated

Izzudin Hussin’s (pictured) been noticing a trend – more Bruneians enrolling into courses in multimedia and 3D animation in local higher education institutions, but without obvious avenues to translate their new skills, are often absorbed into more routine jobs, losing their competencies in 3D development in the process. Izzudin wants to house these talents under a company that will develop mobile app games as well do 3D animation projects.

GRIDS CONNECT

grids

Looking to hire but tired of sifting CV through CV? Liew Seng Wei (pictured R) and Alex Lim (L) are developing a recruitment system that they claim will simplify and streamline the selection process, by being able to automatically categorise and filter, as well as produce graphs, charts and other matching system indicators, to narrow the pool and subsequently time, that you’ll need to find your latest team member.

SRIBUZA

An online marketplace where people can buy and sell services. Started by two brothers, the concept isn’t entirely unique, but at present, in Brunei, is the only website platform housing freelancers and customers under one virtual roof. You can check out their back story here.

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