Top Folk, Reflectionbythejayys and Probike to set up at BSRC

BSRC to provide more opportunities for local businesses to offer services to Belait community

BSRC signing
L to R: Reflectionbythejayys founder Ak Amirull, BSRC President Md Ashraf, Probike founder Hj Abu Bakar and Top Folk founder Md Fakhri after the tenancy signing.

Local burger brand Top Folk, car wash and detailer Reflectionbythejayys and cycling store Probike will be setting up at the Brunei Shell Recreational Club (BSRC) by the first quarter of 2022 following a tenancy signing last Friday.

The signing is part of BSRC’s wider plans to revitalise the club’s offerings while also meeting Brunei Shell Petroleum’s (BSP) in-country value initiative that seeks to develop local businesses and generate employment.

BSRC advertised the tenancy opportunities through an expression of interest (EOI) following their business networking event BSRC Connect which was attended by startups including those from Darussalam Enterprise’s (DARe) ecosystem. The tenancy is for three years with extensions of 12 to 24 months.

President of BSRC Mohammad Ashraf Hj Esa said the club would be opening more business opportunities for vendors to provide services that complement the club’s recreational facilities.

“The signing provides these Bandar-based companies to tap into the Belait market,” he said at the signing which was held at BSRC as part of DARe’s startup networking event Chat & Chew.

“This is in line with the club’s vision to be a hub in the Belait district for not only social, sporting and recreational activities but as a centre for small businesses to thrive and connect to a wider market.”

BSRC has tiered memberships for employees of Brunei Shell Joint Venture Companies, coporates and general members of the public. The club’s recreational facilities are open for members only, but their dining spaces which include a restaurant and an upcoming food court-styled space are open to the public.

The signing businesses are optimistic that their tenancy at BSRC can mark their entry into the Belait district and provide a testbed for potential expansion to other districts in the future.

Top Folk looks to leverage on DARe ecosystem for future growth

Beginning as a home-based businesses and now operating their own central kitchen, local burger brand Top Folk has leveraged several DARe programmes to fuel their expansion.

Founder Md Fakhri Ishak operated from a renovated container at his Beribi residence for four years before applying to DARe’s F&B facility Kontena Park in 2019 to be a part of their second cycle.

Kontena Park rotates vendors in annual cycles to offer experience operating in an affordable commercial space. Top Folk completed their tenancy as one of highest performing vendors, and graduated from the facility by opening central kitchen in a ready-built factory unit from DARe’s Beribi Industrial site under the Youth Ground programme, which provides affordable factory space to locally-owned businesses.

“We also financed our central kitchen (construction) from Bank Usahawan, who we were able to connect with at the DARe (DnT) building,” said Md Fakhri, who is now undergoing DARe’s Standards Consultancy Programme to achieve the internationally recognized food safety standard HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points).

Md Fakhri said the COVID-19 pandemic, especially the periods where dining in was banned, drove them to optimise their takeaway model. Top Folk now operates solely through as an online store which customers can order for pick up or delivery while also listing on other platforms such as GoMamam.

“With a central kitchen and less dining-in space, we can really standardize and scale our operations; so production time and consistency is much better, and overhead costs (typical of restaurants) are lower,” he added.

“We see this model (takeaway only) being successfully implemented overseas with virtual/ghost kitchens). Most of our strategy is now based on what the DARe ecosystem can provide – the latest which is learning about this opportunity to expand to BSRC.”

Reflectionbythejayys diversifies into sanitising and cleaning services in pandemic

Since beginning as a home-based business in 2016, Ak Amirull Azizi Pg Jeffry has grown automotive detailer Reflectionbythejayys into an team of 36 Bruneians who clean cars for established car dealerships and distributors in addition to taking on individual clients at their Bunut studio.

With decreased demand during the height of the pandemic, Ak Amirull leveraged the team’s cleaning skills into sanitising and cleaning premises. The 30-year-old also participated in DARe’s startup development bootcamp Accelerate, which he said helped firm up him business model while opening up new business opportunities including networking with BSRC.

“We are very excited to be able to tap into the Belait market; by opening up at BSRC we hope to offer members and visitors the convenience of having their car cleaned while they enjoy the club facilities,” he said.

ProBike to debut in Belait with BSRC

Of the three businesses that signed with BSRC, ProBike is the newest and will debut their first store at BSRC when the plan to open in March.

ProBike is owned by Hj Abu Bakar PD Hj Abd Wahab, who in an active member of the Anak Brunei Cycling Team, and is being mentored by his coach, former national cyclist and founder of Bandar-based Ride & Cycle Reduan Yusop.

“Reduan is helping mentor ProBike since has a lot of experience in cycling both as a business and as an athlete,” said Hj Abu Bakar. “I first met Reduan as a customer of Ride & Cycle; from there I became his student, and now he is helping me expand into the cycling business.”

Reduan is confident of ProBike’s prospects in Belait, having previously operated a cycling business in Sg Liang in 2011, prior to moving to the capital to open Ride & Cycle in 2019.

“There are a lot of passionate cyclists in the Belait community, and BSRC is the ideal location to connect them,” said Reduan. “Aside from the bicycle servicing and products, ProBike plans to offer coaching as well as organise community rides.