Five Brunei businesses featured in ASEAN publication

Brunei businesses Na Forrer, CONFEX, Bellary Nature, Crescent and Mindplus have been featured in an ASEAN publication highlighting 50 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) from the region who have successfully expanded beyond their borders.

The book, titled Future of ASEAN: 50 success stories of Internationalization of ASEAN MSMEs, was produced by the ASEAN Coordinating Committee on MSMEs (ACCMSME) in conjunction with ASEAN’s 50th anniversary and is being distributed at ASEAN offices and online through their website.

Chair of ACCMSME Norlela Suhailee (pictured main 3rd L)said in a ceremonial handover of the publication earlier today that ASEAN remains committed to the development of MSMEs as they continue to be an “important driver” for ASEAN’s integration and economic growth.

“The ASEAN Economic Community presents opportunities to all businesses, in particular, our MSMEs, where access to regional as well as global markets is made possible through the creation of more business-friendly and integrated economies, allowing greater participation of our MSMEs in global value chains,” said Norlela.

Bruneian fashion house Na Forrer, natural skincare brand Bellary Nature, Brunei’s first professional meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) service provider CONFEX and two digital educational platforms, Crescent and Mindplus were selected for exporting goods and services or opening international branches or securing foreign affiliations.

Founder and creative director of Na Forrer, Farhanna Pura (pictured main 2nd L) said being featured in the book provided the company and Brunei international exposure.

“Every milestone Na Forrer reaches, I’d like to think that it is also bringing Brunei to the next level with us,” said Farhanna, who has been selected to represent Brunei in the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange next week along with notable designers Bernard Chandran and Stella McCartney to showcase evening wear at a reception in Buckingham Palace with the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton.

Bellary Nature founder Diana Han (pictured main L)said that they are currently focused on getting their chemical-free products into the foreign market after seeing its good reception from existing customers in Singapore and Malaysia,

“We are planning a more proactive approach to getting our products into the Singaporean market and then hopefully into Hong Kong after that,” said Diana.

CONFEX, who has affiliations with international speakers and a branch in Kuala Lumpur, hopes being featured in the book will increase their brand awareness to allow them to branch out further to other ASEAN countries as well as attract investors and collaborators.

They are currently working on publishing two new magazines: La Modeste, a magazine focusing on modest fashion, and Frontier, a business-to-business magazine series.

Mindplus, who’ve built an Islamic education mobile application in Indonesia in 2016 that’s used by over 50,000 children, are now looking to bring the app to other ASEAN countries, while also promoting it locally at schools.

“We have so far visited 12 schools to further expose our product to teachers and students,” said Mindplus business development manager, Azri Metussin (pictured main R).  “We currently have more than 2000 registered users in Brunei.

“Being featured in this book will provide us more recognition and show the legitimacy of our product,” he added.

Crescent, the first online education provider recognised in Brunei by the government for accounting and bookkeeping courses, hope being featured increases their credibility at the ASEAN level.

Crescent has exclusive rights to deliver online courses recognized by the International Association of Bookkeepers (IAB) and the Institute of Financial Accounting (IFA) – and recently launched a software called Shabakah that provides communication between parents and teachers. They are currently talking to potential local schools to adapt the system into their organisations.

The “Future of ASEAN: 50 success stories of Internationalization of ASEAN MSMEs” was funded by AEM-METI Economic and Industrial Cooperation Committee based in Japan. You can download a copy here.