WEW opening
A partial screenshot of participants of WEW 2021.

The first Women Entrepreneurship Week (WEW) brings together leading businesswomen and professionals to discuss and share knowledge on how to recover and adapt to the ongoing second wave of COVID-19 in Brunei.

An initiative of Big Begawan’s Womennovation, WEW 2021 is virtually hosting two fireside chats and six free workshops from October 25 to 30 with the aim of educating and raising awareness of women’s entrepreneurship and leadership in the trying times of the pandemic.

Legislative Council member YB Hafimi Abd Haadii, in the event’s keynote, said the second wave in Brunei burst the bubble created after the first wave, where strict border controls but free movement within the country saw local businesses enjoy increased domestic market activity.

“The relative safety of the bubble burst has brought us back to the realisation, that in the words of our Minister of Health: ‘no one is safe until everyone is safe’,” said YB Hafimi.

“We believe that business strategies in the recovery phase will be best orchestrated through three critical actions: reflect, restart, and revitalise. These actions can help businesses to bridge the crisis response to a successful future, by laying the foundation to thrive in the aftermath of the crisis.”

YB Hafimi shared three practical strategies: incorporating more digital elements, from digitalising operations to increasing online presence; fostering a growth mindset by using downtime to learn more online; and connecting and expanding your network to create competitive leverage in sharing sourcing, logistics, and other areas.

The opening fireside chat on Monday discussed how women have coped with balancing work, home, and running businesses with co-founder of CoveredbyAnNisa Hanii Masir, co-founder of Kunyit 7 Lodge Dk Kemariah Pg Hj Duraman, co-founder of Kaimana Living Trish Lim, and MKM Youth Wing representative and lawyer Natasha Halim.

Natasha used the glass ball theory to contextualize balance; stating that everyone has numerous duties and responsibilities, each represented by balls that have to be kept up in the air by juggling. Glass balls are tasks are urgent, that will shatter if dropped, while some balls are plastic.

Understanding how to prioritize – knowing which tasks can and cannot wait, is the fundamental framework for managing increased workload.

Trish and Hanii said their online stores have helped them continue sales despite closing their physical stores, but for Dk Kemariah, whose homestay has had to suspend operations completely, the situation is more difficult.

“While keeping tight with money, I spend my time by helping out volunteering while also keeping in touch with our networks, including those who previously stayed with us; let them know that we are still here, and will be here after the pandemic subsides,” said Dk Kemariah.

Registration for WEW can be done online here, after which the organiser will email Zoom links for participants to join in.