RE:ACT’s mission to bring social enterprises into Brunei’s mainstream through a dedicated online marketplace won the first women’s edition of Startup Weekend Brunei (SWB) at iCentre yesterday.
RE:ACT is to launch their website www.impak.co by April 2019, which will house the products and services of social enterprises across Brunei, followed by Borneo and eventually Southeast Asia.
A prototype for an all-inclusive event planning mobile application called BOOKSYS took second, while Feat.In – an online directory for Bruneian micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) for took third.
Yesterday’s Startup Weekend is the fourth hosted in Brunei, and follows a three-day, 54-hour format which begins with participants pitching ideas to their peers before coalescing into teams around the most voted ideas.
The teams then flesh out their business models and pitches over the weekend with workshops and mentorships, culminating in a presentation before a panel of business experts.
RE:ACT’s founder Shirley Sikun, a professional in the oil and gas industry, said their startup was driven by the increasing sentiment from the public who want their spending “to have a positive impact to the community”.
RE:ACT team member Nazurah Salleh, who’s also the co-founder of educational social enterprise Creativate, said that social enterprises are still struggling to gain footing in the region; lacking in visibility, funding and staying power in comparison to their purely commercial counterparts.
Social enterprises are often described as organizations that are able to sustainably advance social or environmental causes through a profitable enterprise.
“Impak.co will be able to centralise all social enterprises so that the public can easily access, purchase what they’re selling and understand what cause they’re fighting for,” said team member Fatin Muzini.
RE:ACT’s plans to keep their website sustainable include charging vendors a small subscription fee, but their majority income is targeted to be from the sales of clearance packages donated by large corporates.
BOOKSYS (pictured above) is currently working on compiling market rates and gauging interest from event services, who could potentially incorporate into their mobile application, which promises a “hassle-free” event planning solution “at your fingertips”.
Awg Muhammad Naqiuddin Ihsan Awg Mat Japar said the app’s protoype interface allows users to select from a list of popular events to organize including weddings, birthdays and carnivals with an option for custom events.
“Users will then be taken to a list of services needed to pull off the event – from venue, to food, to gifts – so that they can choose from and review their prices,” said Naqiuddin. “If they’re satisfied, they’ll be able to confirm and book straight away.”
Meanwhile, Feat.In (pictured above) founded by food stall owner Saufi Hj Suhaili, said they were looking to be a more engaging version of a traditional business directory, providing photo and video content along with customer reviews and a GPS location.
“Even though social media (in Brunei) is effective, from experience SMEs still lack visibility to the public so having a dedicated directory will help address this problem,” said Saufi.
Yesterday’s SWB was organized by startups Creativate, InTurn, The Creative Core BN, EICO Enterprise and private investment platform Fundnel. All top three teams yesterday won mentorship packages; RE:ACT with IT startup Tyne Solutions and BOOKSYS and Feat.In with the Young Entrepreneurs Association Brunei.
American seed accelerator Techstars who founded Startup Weekend have encouraged organizers to hold women themed editions for September.