Brunei’s biggest showcase of local brands – the MSME Festival – is back this March at the Yayasan Shopping Complex with 89 vendors spread across every Thursday to Sunday.
The new weekly format is in line with the gathering and distancing requirements under the COVID-19 regulations, and will see approximately 20 vendors a week showcasing their products and services at Yayasan’s outdoor plaza and on the ground floor of Block C.
The vendors cover a diverse range of locally designed and made products including food and beverage, fashion, health and beauty, handicrafts, and furniture, as well as innovative services including locally developed mobile games.
With the MSME Festival postponed last year due to the pandemic, Darussalam Enterprise (DARe) is planning to run the festival in its new “mini” format in four editions covering each of the country’s districts throughout 2021.
DARe CEO Javed Ahmad said at the festival’s launch yesterday that although the pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the global economy, Brunei’s swift response in curtailing the disease’s spread has enabled local businesses to continue productivity.
“While the pandemic continues to affect global supply chains, we are seeing an increase in Brunei residents spending locally; this opens up opportunities for local producers to fill in that gap with quality products which will help reduce our reliance on imports,” said Javed.
“MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) have a critical role to play in Brunei’s development: making up over 97% of all businesses based in Brunei, employing over 60,000 people and generating close to $8 billion in revenue annually.
“But businesses need you to survive – be it as a customer, partner or supporter – and there’s no better place to connect with your local entrepreneurs than at the MSME Festival.”
The MSME Festival is organised annually by DARe to provide an affordable platform to gain exposure and sales, and emerging and long-running businesses are hoping the festival will help them reach new audiences.
“Borneo Insider’s Guide (BiG) has been running for 15 years now, but we are still seeking to increase awareness (of the publication) especially amongst the newer generation and newer businesses in this increasingly digital (and social media) era,” said BiG’s Managing Editor Rozman Mashor.
For Belait-based makeup artist and single mother Pg Siti Nur Khatiz’zah Pg Ismail, the festival opens up the opportunity to connect with potential clients from Brunei-Muara.
“Having joined programmes from BIBD and the Youth Development Centre to help develop my business, one of the areas I need to be more active in is to market my services directly to customers, and this festival is a great place to start,” said the 34-year-old who also does house calls for face painting and henna art.
The MSME Festival runs from 10am to 9pm from Thursday to Saturday and from 6am to 6pm on Sunday.