FusionBn will be participating in Junior Achievement’s (JA) Student Company of the Year Competition for the Asia Pacific after their locally designed notebooks won first place in the Brunei edition earlier today.
The startup of 11 students from the Sengkurong Sixth Form Centre (PTES) has sold 120 notebooks between $5.50 to $7.50 that bears six designs from local artists on their covers.
Young Entrepreneur Co. took second with their line of multi-purpose pouches with Bruneian symbols, while BecoWrap came in third, selling natural food wraps made from beeswax and cotton.
JA Brunei is the local chapter of a global non-profit organization dedicated to experiential learning for youth in entrepreneurship, financial literacy and work readiness.
This is the third Student Company of the Year competition hosted in Brunei, and is a culmination of of JA’s flagship initiative called the Company Programme, which is open to students between 15 to 19-years-old.
Managing director of JA Brunei Loius Tan said this year’s participants were “very hands-on” with the top three already developing and selling their own products.
FusionBn’s Kelvin Tan Jun Wei said that they had sold out their first batch of spiral-bound notebooks consisting of sketchbooks with thicker, white A4 paper, and a smaller A5 version with lined pages.
“We worked with two students from PTES and another from IGS college to come up with artwork on Brunei culture, landmarks and people which were then digitally printed onto a cover,” said Kelvin.
The 17-year-old added that they are now searching how to procure notebooks wholesale or outsource their manufacturing, while continuing to work with local artists for designs.
“Right now we buy the (spiral) notebooks for stationery shops, undo them by hand, put our covers on then bind them back together. If we’re able to get the notebooks for cheaper, we can bring our prices down.”
Meragang Sixth Form Centre’s Young Entrepreneur Co. have also chosen to develop a product embellishing local designs, selling over 100 pouches to their peers and through their Instagram page.
“The pouches can be used for many purposes but most use it for keeping stationery”, said Ak Md Nazrul Azmin Pg Lademan.
Team member Ummu Zahirah Hj Emran said they currently outsource production to Aewon, and have roped in 21 students in lower six to manage their finances, drive sales and handle their social media.
“We would like to move into other merchandise (with Bruneian designs) like phone cases and handbags soon,” said Ummu.
Meanwhile, Becowrap is hoping to popularize reusable beeswax-cotton wraps as an alternative to plastic packaging for food.
The wraps, which are being sold for $1 to $2.50, are made by grating beeswax onto a fabric sheet. Coconut oil is then added and heat is applied through an iron, sealing the wrap which makes it largely water resistant.
“The wrap (after sealing) doesn’t absorb much oil or water so it’s perfect for wrapping food; you can also wash it for repeated use,” said team member Nurin Aliana Ali. “What makes our wraps different from other (beeswax) wraps are the songket and batik designs that we picked out.”
Five schools fielding seven teams entered JA Brunei’s Student Company of the Year 2018, including Tutong Sixth Form Centre and Paduka Seri Begawan Sultan Science College.
The teams are judged through a company report submitted before competition day, as well as a four-minute business presentation and a ten-minute interview. This year’s judges were Baiduri’s account relationship manager at corporate banking Rosmawati PDIS Hj Johari, CEO of online marketplace Rotuku Azri Jumat and CFO of business consultancy SUHBE Co.