DARe’s Bruneian Made initiative to help SMEs get into stores

Vanessa's Jam's co-founder Irene Hong (L) offering Deputy Chief Minister of Sabah and State Minister of Trade and Industry Wilfred Madius Tangau (R) their all-natural jam at DARe's Bruneian Made booth at the 23rd Consumer Fair.

The products of 28 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) – the majority still based out of their homes – have gained access to seven major retail outlets and display shelves across the country as part of DARe’s revamped Bruneian Made initiative.

Through the initiative, SMEs are able to sell their products on a dedicated shelf located in seven supermarket branches on a consignment arrangement which provides them with a discounted commission.

The Hua Ho branches in Tanjung Bunut, Kiulap, Manggis and Tutong, Supa Save outlets in Mata-Mata and Seria as well as Sim Kim Huat at the Airport Mall have signed onto the initiative.

DARe Market Access officer Muhd Zul’izzat Hj Abd Halid explained that the initiative, first introduced in 2017, looks to reduce the barrier for SMEs with local brands to enter the local market.

These include supermarkets requiring larger volumes of supply, commission rates above 25% for consignment and hesitancy by retailers in taking on products that have yet to prove their marketability.

“The Bruneian Made initiative is open to local brands; products that are developed wholly in Brunei will be prioritized, but locally developed and owned brands whose production is outsourced will still be considered,” said Zul’izzat.

The majority of the SMEs under the initiative are selling packaged food and beverage products, toiletries and cosmetics through the dedicated supermarket shelf. Those with higher-end or larger products including perfume and clothes that do not fit into the supermarket shelf are housed in a separate display shelf called “Unexpected Treasures” which are being placed in strategic locations including the Brunei International Airport and the Empire Hotel & Country Club.

“For the display shelf, the products are sold online through the Unexpected Treasures website,” said Zul’izzat. “These are for more premium products like jongsarat, Oudh perfume and handcrafted glassware which are delivered directly to customers.”

Wira Bina’s management showcasing their coconut-based cosmetic products at the Bruneian Made booth at the Consumer Fair.

Natural cosmetics company Wira Bina said the Bruneian Made initaitive has enabled them to get their coconut-based products into major supermarkets for the first time, having previously sold through cube stores and online orders.

“Joining this initiative is a big step for us to test the wider market here in Brunei,” said their marketing officer Safrina Kamis, whose mother-in-law started the business from their home in Tutong after retiring as a teacher. “We intend to increase our production and supply as the demand grows.”

DARe is showcasing the Bruneian Made initiative at the 23rd Consumer Fair from June 26 to 30 at the Blue Zone located in the roder tent outside the International Convention Centre.