|UK in Brunei||Link|
|UK Trade and Investment Official Website||Link|
|Brunei Economic Development Board||Link|
|French Bruneian Business Association||Link|
|British Malaysian Chamber of Commerce||Link|
|British Indonesia Chamber of Commerce||Link|
|British Singapore Chamber of Commerce||Link|
|British Cambodia Chamber of Commerce||Link|
|British Chamber of Commerce Myanmar||Link|
|British Chamber of Commerce Philippines||Link|
|British Government's New Industrial Strategy||Link|
The following is a presentation provided by Invest Brunei Darussalam:
The Britain Brunei Business Forum was founded under the patronage of the British High Commission
in Brunei to enable British and Bruneian business people to meet together in order to further
B.B.B.F assists Bruneian business people in finding British partners for enhancing both parties business performance and circulates information about opportunities for business with Britain through the Bruneian business community.
The forum provides a diverse and inclusive network to build opportunities for British, international and local organisations in Brunei with ties to British business.
United Kingdom - Business Secretary Vince Cable, Foreign Secretary William Hague and Trade and Investment Minister Lord Green today launched a new cross-government focus on trade and investment to help the British economy grow.
The UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) Strategy and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) seven-point Charter demonstrate the Government’s dedication to supporting international business, championing UK business overseas and attracting investors to the country.
The UKTI Strategy and FCO Charter are available online.
United Kingdom - On 9 February 2011, the UK Government published its strategy for how trade and investment can drive global economic growth.
This means rejecting protectionism and ensuring a greater openness to trade and investment. Only by taking a new approach can countries be sure that they are supporting the poorest whilst capitalising on all the opportunities offered by a growth in global trade. Included in the strategy are a range of actions to help secure a strong, sustainable and open economy that benefits business both domestically and internationally.
Further background is provided here, and the full text of the strategy is available from the UK’s Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) website Department for Business Innovation & Skills.
AMONG the "usual suspects", present at a business networking session organised by the British Brunei Business Forum (BBBF) yesterday for a UK trade delegate at the Riviera Hotel in Kuala Belait, one organisation, which does not belong to the 'oil & gas' fraternity stood out.
James Peacock, Hull College Group Industry Development Director, told The Brunei Times, "There is no reason why we shouldn't be here."
He explained, "We provide the training for the staff of these people (the oil and gas and engineering companies), and of course we need them to know that we are standing right by them."
Hull College, he added, has a Centre of Excellence in the training of process in oil and gas and non-oil and gas industries, "and of course we are to be providing top quality training on various levels for the private sectors".
Hull College provides not only provides high level academic qualifications, but also provide training to entry level staff at the technical and vocational level, he said. "We can help support the local labour market in the particular skill set that various industries require, and that is why I am here at this session," added Peacock.(The Brunei Times)
The BBBF is an active business association for British and Bruneian business people, regularly providing regular speaker, networking and social events for its members. These include:
|Name||Name By Which Known||Company||Membership Type|
|Jorge Vega||Jorge||AEGIS Secure Solutions Sdn Bhd||Corporate|
|Gary Liau||Gary||Allied Integrated Solution Sdn Bhd||Individual|
|Davis Ho||Davis||Asia Inc Forum||Corporate|
|Ms Yee-Man Cheng||Yee-Man||BAE Systems (International) Ltd||Corporate|
|Ambrose Nathan||Ambrose||BizAdvize Services Sdn Bhd||Corporate|
|Stuart Kemp||Stuart||BizAdvize Services Sdn Bhd||Corporate|
|Natalie Gowers-Barnes||Natalie||British High Commission||Corporate|
|Yvonne Kuan||Yvonne||Cedar Management Services||Individual|
|Dominic Morley||Dominic||CfBT Education Services||Corporate|
|Rob Tunnell||Rob||CfBT Education Services||Corporate under cfbt|
|Arvin Ong||Arvin||creativity180.com||Individual (TBC)|
|Paul Booley||Paul||CW International||Corporate|
|Dr. Colin Ong Yee Cheng||Colin||Dr Colin Ong Legal Services||Corporate|
|Doranita binti Dollah (Dora)||Dora||Fleet Rofhas Energy Services||Corporate|
|William Martin||William||Findlay (B) Sdn Bhd||Individual|
|Calvin Lo||Calvin||HSE Practitioner & Advisor||Individual|
|Rob Commons||Rob||International School of Brunei||Corporate|
|Delon Hon||Delon||James Hon Marketing & Management||Individual|
|Tom Horton||Tom||International School of Brunei||Corporate|
|Bina Chauhan||Bina||Royal Brunei Catering||Corporate|
|Hj Shazali Bin Dato Hj Sulaiman||Shazali||KPMG||Corporate|
|Sivarajah Subramaniam||Siva||Laksamana College of Business||Corporate|
|Jay Santhanam||Jay||Laksamana College of Business||Corporate|
|Christopher Webb||Chris||LS & A Sdn Bhd||Corporate|
|Roger Ainsworth||Roger||Megamas Training Company||Corporate|
|Hj Amir Hj Osman||Hj Amir||PTAS Sdn Bhd||Corporate|
|Jerome van Helden||Jerome||Radisson||Corporate|
|Charles Ting||Charles||Shengyu Trading||Individual|
|Vincent Chok||Vincent||SprintVille Technologies Sdn Bhd||Individual|
|Pg Aki Ibrahim||Aki||Standard Chartered Bank||Corporate|
|Ukaganathan Subramanian||Nat||Universiti Teknologi Brunei||Individual|
|Wan Zainal||Wan||Wama Designs/BIG Magazine||Individual|
|Ian R Creighton||Ian||Willis Insurance Brokers Sdn Bhd||Corporate|
|Mohamad Rozaiman Abdul Rahman||Rozaiman||Messrs Rozaiman Abdul Rahman,Advocate & Solicitors||Individual|
|Sivakumar Krishnan||Sivakumar||QAF Auto Sdn Bhd||Individual|
|Paul Taylor||Paul||Progresif Cellular Sdn Bhd|
|Barbora Grexa||Barbora||Nuara Group Sdn Bhd||Individual|
|Ali Khan||Adeel||Saahtain Asia Sdn Bhd||Corporate|
|Namasivayam Karuppiah||Dr Siva||Star Management Services Sdn Bhd||Individual|
|Asnawi Leong||Arif||Insurans Islam TAIB Holdings Sdn Bhd||Individual|
|George Lim||George||Wei Hong Construction||Individual|
|Richard Foley||Richard||OMNI Sports International Sdn Bhd||Individual|
|Tony Tam||Tony||Kingsley Medical Supplies Sdn Bhd||Individual|
|Name||Name By Which Known||Company||Membership Type|
|Muhd Nur Izzad Khan Bin Hj Haliddin||Izzad||Laksama College Of Business||Associate|
|Nor Afiqah Binti Awg Lamit||Afiqah||Laksama College Of Business||Associate|
|Nurul Nabilah Binti Hj Yunos||Nabilah||Laksama College Of Business||Associate|
|Siti Amal Rasyidah Binti Kahar||Amal||Laksama College Of Business||Associate|
|Rabiatul Basyirah Binti Md Jane||Rabiatul||Laksama College Of Business||Associate|
|Amira Afifa Hj Mohd Shafie||Amira||Laksama College Of Business||Associate|
|Nur Zaralyn Safiya Binti Abdullah@Gindang||Zaralyn||Laksama College Of Business||Associate|
|Muhd Saufi Bin Md Yusof||Saufi||Laksama College Of Business||Associate|
|Saldi Sofihardey||Saldi||Laksama College Of Business||Associate|
H.E. Mr. Richard LindsayHigh Commissioner
British High Commission
|Richard Lindsay came to Brunei Darussalam in June 2017, and presented his credentials as British High Commissioner to His Majesty The Sultan on 10 August. He has committed to build on the strong ties between the UK and Brunei Darussalam, and to support British businesses in contributing to the 'Brunei Wawasan 2035' agenda. Mr. Lindsay joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 1996. Prior to his appointment to Brunei Darussalam, he served as the Head of Security Policy Department at the FCO. His previous overseas postings included Brazil as Prosperity Counsellor; Australia, holding the Foreign and Security Policy portfolio; and Zimbabwe as a Political Officer.|
William Martin (Chairman)
Director, Training & Consultancy
Findlay (B) Sdn Bhd
|William was born in Singapore and has spent over 30 years of his professional life in Asia, the Middle East, Russia, the UK and the Caribbean delivering service, analysing risk and implementing change. William is Director, Training & Consultancy at Findlay (B) Sdn Bhd, an education services agency accredited by the Brunei Darussalam National Accreditation Council. Findlay offers an A-Z service to students in choosing study courses, applying to universities in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US. and training in the skills necessary to enter the workforce. It also provides in-house professional development training both to students to equip them to enter the workforce as well as bespoke courses for corporate and institutional clients.|
|Sivarajah Subramaniam (Siva) started his career working as a Trainee Manager for Advertising Company Ltd in London, United Kingdom and then as Demand Manager for Johnson & Johnson in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In 2001, he came to Brunei to join what was then known as Kensington College of Business as a Management Trainee and Lecturer on both the Business Studies Professional and Academic Programmes. When Kensington was re-named Laksamana College of Business in 2003, Siva became Administration Manager, responsible for setting up and managing the first British private college in Brunei. In 2007, he was promoted to his current position as Chief Operating Officer of the College and in 2015 took up the new role as a Deputy Principal. He has responsibility for management and development of operational site of the college ranging from the marketing plan to development of new courses.|
Pg Aki Ismasufian (Treasurer)
Corporate and Institutional Banking
Standard Chartered Bank
|Pg Aki Ismasufian joined Standard Chartered in April 2012 as Head of Corporate Strategic Initiatives. In April 2015, he was appointed Country Head, Corporate and Institutional Banking with responsibility for the corporate banking business of Standard Chartered. Prior to joining Standard Chartered, he was the Assistant Chief Executive Officer at the Brunei Economic Development Board. His portfolios included managing the Foreign Direct Investment Division, Stakeholder Relations Division and Chairman’s Office. Pg Aki is experienced in facilitating major BEDB projects, business analysis, managing stakeholder relations, public relations as well as marketing communications. He is a graduate from University of Wales Institute Cardiff, UK and is also a very keen sportsman. He has represented Brunei in a number of competitive tennis tournaments including the Davis Cup and ATP Challengers.|
|Charles Ting was born in Sarawak, East Malaysia. He is a graduate from the University of Louisiana, USA. From 1989 - 2009, Charles worked for the British High Commission in Brunei for over 20 years as Management Officer/Commercial Officer. He now runs his own business, Sheng Yu Trading Sdn Bhd, importing and distributing cooperate gifts and stationery items to all major department stores/book stores/ schools and offices in Brunei. The company is the sole distributor for a number of International brands such as Parker Pens, Helix (Oxford) Maths Set-UK, Waterman Pens, Maped Stationery items (France), UHU Glue Stic, UHU DIY, UHU Household, Lamy Pens, Online Pens and Herma Address Labels (Germany)|
Deputy High Commissioner
|Ben has worked for the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office for nearly 10 years. He was previously posted as the Political Economic Attaché at the British Embassy in Vienna and as a Staff Officer in the Caribbean. In London, Ben covered a variety of issues for the FCO, including the British Overseas Territories, oil and gold exploration in the South Atlantic and international crime. He enjoys running in Brunei’s fabulous jungle, surfing at Tungku, drinking tea tarik and travelling in South East Asia.|
BizAdvice Services Sdn Bhd
|Worked in a number of countries in South East Asia for over 20 years including Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Brunei in various positions in the field of Finance. Experience was notably in Price Waterhouse in the management consultancy division specializing in mergers, acquisitions, receivership, corporatisation of government departments and managing an oil palm refinery. Had 16 years with G4S, the largest security company in the world in the role of Finance Director, Financial Controller of South East Asia and retiring as the Country Manager for the operations in Brunei.|
LS & A Sdn Bhd
|Chris is Executive Chairman of LS & A Sdn Bhd and has been based in Brunei since mid-2008. LS & A Sdn Bhd is based in Brunei and deals with both Military & Police Forces in Brunei. The company also has regional activities, mainly in Malaysia & Indonesia. LS & A Sdn Bhd represents a number of UK companies both for Brunei & the region. Under current expansion plans LS & A Sdn Bhd are currently setting up a survival safety workshop to cater for the needs of the Royal Brunei Navy, Police & Fire Services, with future plans to cater for Brunei Shell|
Yvonne Kuan Han
Cedar Management Services
|Yvonne Kuan Han is currently the General Manager for Cedar Management Services, a 100% locally
owned financial and insurance service provider. She graduated in Marketing, Finance and Management
from Australia before working for HSBC Brunei for 7 years. She remains active in the Brunei
Australia Alumni Association (BAAA), serving as Vice President and was the first and only
Female representing Brunei for the Asia New Zealand Foundation –Young Business Leaders Initiatives
in 2014. She has also been Special Advisor and President of the Young Entrepreneurs Association
of Brunei (YEAB) and was elected as President for the term 2010-2011.
Before deciding to concentrate on the insurance industry, Yvonne as part of her personal development had committed 2 years to traveling the world for Core Value Training, a values based leadership training program conducted in many locations around the world. She was the Asia Pacific Logistics Director.
Dr. Colin Ong
Dr Colin Ong Legal Services
|Dr Colin Ong QC is a member of the Brunei, English and Singapore Bars. He is highly experienced as lead counsel and arbitrator in international commercial disputes. He is the first ASEAN national lawyer to have been appointed Queen's Counsel. In 2010, he became the first ASEAN non-head of state or senior judge made a Master of the Bench of the Inner Temple. He is or has been visiting law professor in many jurisdictions including Hong Kong University; NUS(Singapore); Kings College(London). He is President, Arbitration Association Brunei Darussalam; Advisor Governing Board, BANI(Indonesia); and Vice-President (Appointments) of Thai Arbitration Center (THAC).|
|Bina Chauhan is a member of the careers guidance services within the Higher Education department at Jerudong International School. With 24 years of media sales and marketing background, she has worked for leading organisations in the UK with roles including Business Development Manager for JCDecaux-- the world’s largest out-of-home advertising company in the UK, Senior Account Manager for Global Radio-- leaders in the commercial radio market UK (whose brands include Heart FM, Capital FM, Classic FM, LBC,Choice FM, XFM and Gold) and Retail Manager for Leicester Mercury Media group. She is currently managing the Sales and Marketing Department for BiG Magazine in Brunei Darussalam.|
|Rob has been working in the education/corporate training sector since 1999, having previously worked in the UK retail banking area, looking after small businesses. In his education roles, Rob has lived and worked on 4 continents, returning to Asia and Brunei in 2015, having previously lived in Sumatra. In Brunei Rob is Head of Training and Learning at the Centre for British Teachers (CfBT). As well as writing and delivering training for CfBT’s 250 internal staff, he also runs corporate training for clients ranging from SMEs to government ministries, as well as a private language centre, helping both adults and children to be better prepared for 21stcentury language and life demands. Over the past twenty years, Rob has presented at several conferences, has headed up business development trips in both Russia and the Ukraine, research projects in Indonesia and, more recently, run training programmes in Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon, the latter of which is an ongoing charitable programme working with Syrian refugees. When not working, Rob enjoys running through Brunei’s jungles, travelling as far and wide as possible and kayaking.|
Laksamana College of Business
|Jayarajoo Santhanam has spent more than two decades in Teaching, Training, NGO and Management sectors. He has extensive international experience developed with business and non-profit organisations in Australia, Nepal, Bangladesh, India, Thailand and UK, is Secretary for The Centre for Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship and has planned and implemented many entrepreneurship programs in Malaysia. Jayarajoo was actively involved in local NGOs, working closely with youth organisations, single parents, minorities and marginalised groups. As a student and intern in London, he initiated and implemented a proposal for an NGO in India on the use of solar power to enhance productivity. He was formerly a Corporate Social Responsibility consultant and Programs Director for a pilot project in Pahang for the Malaysian Education Ministry, part of a charity organisation in London and has carried out research in Tamil Nadu, India on NGO development projects. He is currently attached as an IT Lecturer and also as Training and Development lead to Laksamana College of Business. He holds a Certificate and Bachelor of Education from Malaysian University and PG Cert and MSc Software Technology from RGU Scotland and Middlesex University UK.|
2.01, 2nd Floor, Block D,
Kompleks Bangunan Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah,
Jalan Pretty, Bandar Seri Begawan
PO Box 2197, Brunei Darussalam
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Telephone (+673) (2) 222231
Working Hours :
Mon - Thu : 0800 - 1630
Fri : 0800 - 1200
Under the kind patronage of His Excellency, Mr Richard Lindsay, British High Commissioner to Brunei, you are cordially invited to the 2019 AGM, which will take place as follows:
The AGM is open to all fully paid-up Members, their guests and Associate Members. Members who wish to attend should ensure that they have paid their 2019 subscription. The British High Commissioner will deliver an address on the [confirm subject]. Following the AGM, the High Commissioner has kindly invited the BBBF members and guests to a networking dinner.
The following positions are open for election to all fully paid-up members:
• Hon. Secretary
• Hon. Treasurer
• 9 “General Committee” positions
(Note: some of the current Committee Members may offer themselves for re-election so the number of positions may be less than 12)
Our first Speaker meeting of 2019 saw Udo Schedel, CEO of Bank Usahawan, introduce the bank to BBBF’s members.
Established in 2017 to cater for (in Udo’s words) “All sorts of SME business”, the bank made its first loan in April 2018. Udo stressed that their mission is access to finance for and advice to SMEs whilst supporting the government’s efforts to diversify Brunei’s economy away from oil and gas and into production and services.
With a core product of cashflow-based lending, Bank Usahawan currently provides two Syariah-compliant products focussing on Asset Finance and Working Capital Finance. Their current portfolio will grow to cover approximately 200 clients.
Bank Usahawan sees its USPs as: fast processing of small loan applications (maximum 10 days), a close relationship with clients and a flat organisation structure that promotes fast decision-making. They now have an office at DARe and visit Kuala Belait every week, meaning that aspiring entrepreneurs don’t have to come to the capital to see them.
From the number and variety of questions after, it was clear that what Udo had to say resonated with a number of members and discussions carried on into the “networking session”. In short, a great start to 2019.
Anirvan Ghosh-Dastidar, CEO Standard Chartered Bank, shared his views at our meeting which was kindly hosted by His Excellency, The British High Commissioner. Standard Chartered celebrates its 60th Anniversary in Brunei this year.
Despite his inbound flight being delayed, Anirvan still made it in time to deliver a wide-ranging and positive view. Covering oil, trade wars, the local economy and Standard Chartered’s approach to business, his view was that he felt “ encouraged” by the potential he saw in Brunei.
As is customary, members then shared their own views, experiences and hopes, adding an interesting strategic dimension to an evening that takes place just as businesses are thinking about their budget for the following year. Honest and witty, informative and thought-provoking, Anirvan gave us all plenty to think about before we all retired to an excellent dinner and to continue the conversation in smaller groups.
This event brought the 2018 events to a close, but members can expect a strong start to 2019.
Members and invited guests gathered to hear the history of Progresif from CEO Paul Taylor (also a BBBF member) at he Hotel Rizqun. From extremely challenging times five years ago, Progresif have emerged as an industry leader in Brunei as well as a regional award winner for their activities.
In an extremely entertaining and honest talk, Paul took us through the challenges of the past and what had been done to address them. It became clear that serious investment has gone into people, positioning, equipment and training. The result is a highly passionate, proud, communicative and innovative (dare we say “progressive”?) company that has improved its service offering, improved staff training and retention rates and increased its network provision. Turnaround, as Paul put it, has been “startling”.
The Q&A session after Paul’s speech showed how much of what he said had resonated with the audience and questions ranged from portability of numbers to enterprise solutions. From the sound of it, we were only hearing the beginning of the story.
Did you know that, by the end of the year, the average age of Royal Brunei’s fleet will be 2 years old or less? Or that Royal Brunei are the lead agency for marketing Brunei as a tourist destination? Or that the first female captain in Asia is Bruneian?
These and more were some of the facts revealed by Karam Chand during his talk with BBBF Members. With a domestic population of just over 400,000, the airline has and will continue to announce new destinations, particularly geared to growing its market for inbound passengers. Focus will be differentiating themselves through service, selling themselves as a “Stylish, 4-star airline with best-in-class service”. A rebranding of interiors, uniforms and in-flight entertainment services offered, as well as access to a new SkyLounge and codesharing with 9 other airlines.
Some lively Q&A followed, with one particularly interesting explanation of how RB approach potential new markets. Competition in the airline industry is “hotting up”, particularly thanks to new air carriers as well as Low-Cost Carriers being established, and it is more difficult than before to service many routes profitably. As an example, 30 carriers compete for Australia-London routes.
A final flourish from Karam was to invite student members of the audience interested in a career with RB to tour their facility in future.
BBBF held its first Members’ Dinner & Quiz night at the Hotel Radisson for everyone to catch up after the summer break. Organised by Committee Members Bina Chauhan, Yvonne Kuan and Charles Ting, the evening started with drinks and light refreshments before guests were called to their tables to decide on team names and start competing.
Over three rounds, interspersed with food, teams competed Quizmasters Yvonne and Bina kept the teams in order (barely) whilst running things with good humour and impeccable timing whilst scorekeeper Charles made sure results were announced promptly
In the end, team “Scarface” topped the board with an impressive 80 points, followed by “Table 3” and the “Fantastic Six”. Prizes for all were generously sponsored by Charles Ting of Shengyu Trading.
Following our successful meeting with DARe in 2018 and interest shown by members, BBBF have agreed to provide informal mentoring to start-up companies incubated by DARe. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed on 12 September 2018 by William Martin, Chairman, and Javed Ahmed, CEO DARe at DARe’s headquarters. His Excellency Richard Lindsay, British High Commissioner also attended and addressed the audience before meeting some of the DARe companies under incubation.
Under the MoU, BBBF members will have the opportunity to meet Brunei’s new entrepreneurs in informal surroundings and, if they like what they see, to become mentors to those companies on terms they agree direct with the company. There is no legal obligation on either side; mentors can choose to spend as much or as little time as they like on their advisory duties.
This marks a genuine step forward to BBBF’s efforts to bring British and Brunei businesses closer together and provides an excellent opportunity for BBBF Members who do not do so already to support aspiring entrepreneurs in Brunei. We look forward to seeing how it will evolve over time.
Dr Hj Kamaruddin Dato Seri Paduka Hj Talib, President, and Fauziah Dato Seri Paduka Hj Talib, Treasurer and Secretary, Trade and Investment of the Brunei Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry addressed members about their vision of transforming the business landscape in Brunei” in line with His Majesty the Sultan’s call for diversification away from oil and gas and to see the private sector taking on more economic activity with the support of Brunei’s numerous business groups.
Brunei, he said, has a proud history in oil and this will be sustained for future development. Equally, other opportunities will continue to present themselves, and it is in business’ interest to spot and develop these even though, at first sight, they might not present themselves as “priority areas” for investment. To this end, DPPMB meet with government, visiting trade delegations and local business people to understand where priorities lie, how people are thinking and where we should focus our energy. They also provide various support services to businesses to help them grow.
Their “World Café” dialogue sessions, Power Lunches and “Spotlight” activities have already shown results and BBBF were invited to participate in future sessions.
Accompanying Dr Kamaruddin were members of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce and the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Brunei. This was an excellent opportunity for our own members to mingle with other business groups and discuss common ground, and we look forward to working with DPPMB in the future.
The 17th Annual General Meeting of the Britain Brunei Business Forum took place on Thursday 8 March at the British High Commissioner’s Residence. In opening the proceedings, His Excellency Mr Richard Lindsay, the British High Commissioner, offered some brief reflections on the Brunei scene and gave an update on Brexit.
The outgoing Treasurer, Lyndsay Rajah, then presented the Treasurer’s Report. The BBBF’s main source of income remained its membership fees. Total current assets were 8.5% higher than last year, mainly due to the increase in membership for 2017.
BBBF Chairman, William Martin, followed with his presentation of the Chairman’s Report. He recounted a full and active year with eight varied events. He also described how the wider portfolio system which he had introduced into the Committee had resulted in more evenly distributed effort and better results overall. William made particular mention of the work the BBBF was arranging to do with DARe to help budding entrepreneurs; and of the website update which was under way with the help of Laksamana College of Business students.
The Chairman expressed his thanks to the Committee for their work during the previous year. He also presented gifts of appreciation to Lyndsay Rajah and Andrew Caie who were leaving the Committee. Lyndsay was given a special mention for her long service which included stints as Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer.
A new Committee of 12 members was then elected as follows:
Chairman: William Martin
Treasurer: Pg Aki Ismasufian
Secretary: Siva Subramaniam
General Committee: Ben Boddy, Yvonne Kuan, Ambrose Nathan, Dr. Colin Ong, Charles Ting, Chris Webb, Rob Tunnell, Jayarajoo Santhanam and Bina Chauhan
The High Commissioner generously provided us with dinner after the AGM with the opportunity to network in the pleasant ambience of his Residence. Our thanks go to His Excellency Mr Richard Lindsay for his hosting of this event for the first time and for the enthusiastic support he has afforded the BBBF since his arrival in Brunei last year.
“Inspiring” is the word that comes to mind when describing Yusuf Flynn’s account of his endeavours to date to found and develop his start-up company into a dramatically successful business.
Members and their guests enjoyed a lively and entertaining presentation from Yusuf Flynn, founder and CEO of Headhunter Sport, a Bruneian company now designing, manufacturing and selling rugby kit across the region.
A rugby player himself, Yusuf saw a market for comfortable, affordable rugby kit, customised to a team’s requirements. There is an enormous potential market with some 122 million rugby supporters as well as players in 14 countries. Yusuf realised that supplying Brunei’s own requirements was one thing, but the future of doing successful business lay in securing a sizeable export market.
Yusuf has already signed a contract with the Singapore Rugby Union for the supply of kit. He is also signing up with Marvel and the HSBC World 7s. He claims that his success is largely due to delivering on time and to specification the custom-designed kit required. To do this he has been resourceful, not least in coping with the challenges of logistics in Brunei.
However, Yusuf is adamant that without the support he got from Government he would not have got this far. He is thankful to DARe and for the Ministerial attention he received. This helped him to establish his factory where he now employs 20 people, including designers.
But ultimately it is Yusuf’s own enthusiasm, determination, self-belief and sense of humour which have been the key.
We wish Yusuf and Headhunter Sport well and will be watching their progress with interest. At the same time the BBBF will be working with DARe to help other start-ups with the advice our own members can give to help them achieve similar success.
A video of how Headhunter started is available here
Did you know that there are currently some 9,200 English Medium International schools teaching over 5 million students? By 2027 this number is expected to reach almost 17,000 schools and over 10 million students.
In Asia alone, there are over 5,000 International Schools ranging from “independent schools” (e.g. JIS, ISB) to “Chains” (Nord Anglia Gems) and Franchises” (Harrow, Epsom, Sherbourne). There are now more students in UK overseas franchise schools than international students in UK boarding schools.
These were just some of the revelations from speakers Barny Sandow and Daniel Roberts at our first Speaker Meeting of 2018. International Schools also purchase an incredibly high number of products and services, ranging from security to staff and stationery, training to travel, computers to consultancy. There’s “something for everyone”.
Brunei itself is an attractive education destination place for parents based in the region. RBA flies direct to many major Asian cities, Brunei is a safe country with a high standard but low cost of living and one of the world’s highest Clean Air Indicators and fees represent excellent value for money. Both ISB and JIS are UK-certified and inspected, offer outstanding teachers and facilities and achieve excellent academic results.
Our thanks to Barny and Daniel for a fascinating insight into the world of international education.
Dato Timothy Ong drew a predictably large attendance to his assessment of the current state of business in Brunei and the outlook for 2018. This was a characteristically clear and penetrating presentation which included a brief sector by sector analysis of the state of the economy, the implications for business and the way ahead. There followed some challenging questions from the floor and some lively discussion.
The event took place in the British High Commission Residence, graciously and generously hosted by His Excellency Mr Richard Lindsay. There followed a buffet dinner and the opportunity for further discussion and networking in the comfortable surroundings of the Residence.
On Thursday 12th October we revisited Brexit with a panel discussion to consider the likely implications for Brunei, ASEAN and our members. Our guest speakers were His Excellency Mr Richard Lindsay, the British High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam; Shazali Sulaiman, Senior Partner, KPMG; and Haslina Taib, CEO of BAG Networks.
Last year the previous British High Commissioner, David Campbell, spoke to us in the aftermath of the referendum vote. This was our opportunity for an update. Richard Lindsay brought us right up to date with a clear summary of the negotiations so far and the rationale behind the British Government’s negotiating position. In particular, he stressed that the UK Government wanted a settlement which was good for both the UK and the EU and which took account as best it could of the wide range of views held by the British electorate. Richard recommended that we read the text of Theresa May’s speech in Florence last month and the UK Government’s White Papers on Brexit, particularly the latest on trade policy.
Our other two panelists, Shazali Sulaiman and Hazlina Taib, gave both their professional and personal views on what Brexit might mean for Brunei and Bruneians. This was a tall order since the UK still has a long way to go before it can even begin to recalibrate its trade and other relations with the rest of the world. Nevertheless, a clear message from our panelists was that the UK-Brunei relationship was a long and successful one which was happily set to continue, come what may.
Questions from the audience, including some from our younger members, were wide-ranging and often penetrating, putting our panelists on the spot! Although there was a temptation by some to analyse the reasons for the result of the vote, the High Commissioner stressed that the focus now needed to be on honouring the democratic will of the people and delivering the right deal for the United Kingdom as a whole.
Refreshments and networking concluded the afternoon’s proceedings in the normal way.
As our first Speaker following the long summer break, BBBF’s very own Dr Gordon Clarke, MD of Monetiqs Pte Ltd, explained global and local payments systems in operation. His main theme, “Where is the money?”, echoed throughout as he explained how money originated and the key developments that led to the current way we make and receive payments today. Here, Gordon was careful to distinguish between “messages” (instructions from customers and banks) and “movements” (the actual movement of funds).
Gordon cleverly showed the different payments methods used (cash, cheques, “internet banking”, credit cards and “cryptocurrencies”) and how each worked, as well as examining their relative advantages, disadvantages and (most important) costs. Suffice it to say, the payments “space” is one which is continually evolving.
The audience were then invited to share their experiences and problems, making for some interesting discussion during the networking session held after.
This event marked a "first” for BBBF with the attendance of its first 9 Associate Members from Laksamana College of Business and we look forward to seeing more of them in the future.
The Committee had their September meeting at the British High Commission Residence, courtesy of the new British High Commissioner, His Excellency Mr Richard Lindsay. There followed an informal working dinner, hosted by His Excellency. This provided an opportunity for the Committee to brief the High Commissioner on the work of the BBBF and to have a valuable exchange of views on current business issues affecting its members.
Javed Ahmad, the new Chief Executive Officer of Darussalam Enterprise (DARe), gave the BBBF a presentation on its role in helping to develop micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Brunei. He was assisted by Daniel Leong, in charge of Industrial Site Management.
Hosted by DARe in the Design and Technology Building in Kpg Anggerek Desa on 23 May, this well-attended event stemmed from a BBBF initiative to better understand the role and purpose of DARe and to identify ways in which we might help MSMEs through DARe by drawing on our membership’s wide range of skills and experience.
We learnt of Brunei’s need to diversify the economy, reducing its excessive reliance on the oil and gas sector. The aim is to increase non-oil exports from its current 5% to 50% by 2035. DARe explained that currently MSMEs in Brunei contribute far less towards the country’s GDP and its exports than the average of all ASEAN countries.
DARe’s key objective is to grow local enterprises and increase their contribution to the country’s GDP, its employment and its exports. To focus its efforts, DARe has identified five clusters of economic activity for specific support. These are halal, innovative technology and creative industries, business services, tourism, and the downstream oil and gas industry.
We also learnt that DARe supports MSMEs in a number of ways including training, finance, access to both land and markets, support services and promoting both entrepreneurship and business opportunities through the electronic media.
There followed a lengthy Q&A session, presided over by Javed Ahmad, which was lively, challenging and informative.
We found this an extremely useful meeting and a valuable start to what we hope will be a continuing dialogue with DARe, enabling the BBBF to make a worthwhile contribution towards nurturing Brunei’s MSMEs.
If members have ideas or views about how you think we might help, please get in touch with our Chairman, William Martin (email@example.com) or our Secretary, Charles Ting (firstname.lastname@example.org) We need to know what you think on this important subject.
Members were treated to a well-illustrated insight into the world of halal products and their production at the Rizqun hotel on 9 May by Dr Nur Rahman, CEO of Ghanim International Holdings which trades as “Brunei Halal”.
For those of us who have only the faintest understanding of “halal”, Dr Nur revealed that the term applies not only to food, but also to cosmetic and pharmaceutical products. The certification process is thorough and sounded not too dissimilar to the clinical trials that medicinal products go through before certified to be sold to the public. As long as the proper certification is carried out on the production process by a minimum of two certified Muslim supervisors, such a plant can operate anywhere in the world. This allows the potential for job creation in new markets in addition to supplying quality products at affordable prices.
Another key fact is that Brunei Halal uses only natural ingredients in its products, meaning that they contain no harmful additives or are “bulked out” with soy or other ingredients. In other words, a chicken goujon contains 100% chicken meat and no genetically modified organisms (GMOs). For those more conscious about health and diet (especially those suffering from diabetes, hypertension or heart disease) the low sugar, salt and fat content of Brunei Halal products means reduced risk of medical problems.
We learnt that the company already manufactures and sells to the UK and the Middle East from its Birmingham factory. Products such as frozen Chicken Goujons and Nuggets, Drumsticks, Slices, Lamb Burgers, and Kofta Sausages, artificial sweeteners and seasonings, Soy, crackers, cordials and water available in Brunei at local supermarkets (Supasave, Hua Ho) or at the Brunei Halal outlet at Warisan Mata Mata.
Those interested in knowing more about Brunei Halal’s products and prices can ask our Secretary, Charles Ting, to supply further details by emailing him at email@example.com
Andrew Varley, immediate past BBBF Chairman and Regional Manager (South-East Asia), CAA International, was our first speaker on 13 April at the Rizqun Hotel where he gave members a fascinating and insightful talk on aviation security entitled “Safe by Design”.
With 45 years’ experience in the aviation industry, Andrew was able to speak to his audience with a vast amount of knowledge and first-hand experience. Focussing in particular on the design and certification aspects of civil aviation, his essential message was that air travel has become safer by design.
Taking the audience through a series of graphically illustrated ‘milestone events’ over the last 70 years, he showed where the aviation community had learnt and shared what had gone wrong, leading to improvements including better technologies, systems and procedures which have been adopted internationally. These include human performance issues which have led to further improvements including a culture of open reporting.
Andrew also explained the vital role played by the current international aviation regulatory framework, which has improved design, testing and certification standards for aircraft worldwide. It has also ensured procedures for proper and regular maintenance of aircraft throughout their operational life as well as for continued airworthiness.
The meeting concluded with an equally interesting Q&A session ranging from the effects of both volcano ash and bird-strikes on aircraft engines to the future of pilotless passenger aircraft.
Our thanks go to Andrew for giving such an interesting and entertaining start to the year’s Speaker Events.
The AGM took place on Wednesday 15 March at the Residence of HE Mr David Campbell, British High Commissioner to Brunei. Mr Campbell and his team also kindly provided us with dinner afterwards and the opportunity to spend the rest of the evening networking at leisure with other members and guests.
This was an extremely well-attended event which began with words of welcome and introductory remarks from the High Commissioner. Chairman Andrew Varley then presented the Treasurer’s Report in Lyndsay Rajah’s absence. Membership has increased, whilst costs remain well under control, providing us with a healthy bank balance. Andrew’s own report followed, recording a highly successful programme of events and expressing thanks to all those who have actively supported both him and the BBBF over the past year.
A new Committee of 12 members was elected as follows:
Chairman: William Martin
Treasurer: Lyndsay Rajah
Secretary: Charles Ting
General Committee: Ben Boddy, Ambrose Nathan, Siva Sivarajah, Andrew Caie, Pg. Aki Ibrahim, Christopher Webb, Daniel Roberts, Yvonne Kuan and Dr. Colin Ong
William Martin, as our new Chairman, then offered some thoughts on the way ahead for the BBBF, welcoming aboard new Committee members and explaining how the new Committee would share responsibilities more evenly, hopefully working effectively as an integrated team. He also expressed our thanks to outgoing Chairman, Andrew Varley, for his hard work as both Secretary and latterly as Chairman for two years. He presented Andrew with a small souvenir gift from the BBBF as a token of appreciation.
Andrew Varley will be with us until he returns to the UK later this year. Meanwhile he will be giving a talk of his own to the BBBF on aviation safety on Thursday 13 April at the Rizqun Hotel. Please don’t miss it.
Our particular thanks go to HE Mr David Campbell for his generous hospitality and support in making this AGM and networking event such an unqualified success.
Following his highly topical and informative talk in 2015, we were delighted to welcome back Dato Timothy Ong to assess developments in Brunei. In his thought-provoking and incisive way, Dato Ong again treated us to a brief analysis of what was happening, what might happen and how this might play out in the years to come.
From discussion that followed, it was clear that Brunei has made headway in addressing a number of issues arising from lower oil prices and as a result, is better positioned to meet future challenges. Members discussed what these might be and how they might be addressed.
Thanks to the generosity of His Excellency, David Campbell, British High Commissioner, we were able to receive members at the Residence for the talk and a superb dinner and networking session for the final Speaker Meeting of 2016.
We were delighted to host H.E. David Campbell, British High Commissioner, for a review of plans following the UK’s vote to leave the EU back in June of this year.
At a well-attended gathering at the Hotel Rizqun, David reviewed the UK’s strengths and the steps planned for ensuring a smooth and orderly exit from the EU.
“Leaving the EU does not mean leaving Europe or indeed, the world,” he said. “The UK will continue to be a leader in all areas: the UN, G7, G20, amongst others and to maintain its diplomatic, trade, cultural and educational links with the rest of the world. A strong economy, rule of law, tourist and educational industry, a sports scene that is watched by the world, language, culture and its location between Asia and the US are all major factors in continuing to play a full part in world affairs.”
Our first Speaker Meeting after the summer break saw a joint gathering with the Arbitration Association of Brunei Darussalam and other guests where the Right Honourable, Sir Martin Moore-Bick, QC and Lord Justice, delivered an informative summary of the history, role and progress of the UK’s Commercial Court along with the benefits that have been the result. This was in the context of a similar court being set up in Brunei. Among the main advantages of a specialist Commercial Court presided over by Commercial Law specialists were: - Enforcement of the rule of law, giving confidence to businessmen that their interests would be protected; - Developing and updating laws to keep up with the ever-increasing changes in the business world; - Enforcement of decisions; - Expertise; - Development of “Best Practice” in processing cases. Following Sir Martin’s talk, a panel consisting of the British High Commissioner and BBBF members Dr Colin Ong and Hj Shazali Dato Hj Sulaiman gave their views from a business and legal perspective. Both stressed the importance of such a court in promoting the smooth running of business transactions as well as the diverse legal heritage of ASEAN and the need to provide for the requirements of Islamic banking. The overriding conclusion was that, for the court to succeed in Brunei, it needed the full support of the business community, as this has been (and continues to be) a key factor in the success of the UK’s court. Indera Motors, agents for Jaguar Land Rover in Brunei, kindly hosted the meeting surrounded by some of their luxury vehicles, before serving an excellent buffet which went down very well with members and hosts. Our thanks go to Alfred Yong Foh Seng (General Manager), Noormala Othman (Senior Executive Manager, Sales, Marketing & Business Development) and the Indera Motors team for their first-class hospitality as well as to the AABD and the British High Commission for organising such an informative event.
Did you know that global trade in education outranks that of trade in oil by a factor of almost 2? Our second Speaker Meeting of 2016 saw Dr Greg Keaney, Country Manager of the Centre for British Teachers (CfBT) in Brunei, give a highly informative and lively presentation on the potential in Brunei as a Centre of Excellence for English language teaching. You only have to look to see how high a standard of English is spoken in Brunei, and Greg outlined the numerous advantages that Brunei already has: safety, clean environment, low cost of living, quality of infrastructure and others. His conclusion? With investment and a bit of work, Brunei has another “hidden treasure”. Chairman Andrew Varley had to call a halt in the end to the stream of questions that followed, but they continued outside during the refreshment break. For those members who missed it but would like to know more, a copy of the presentation is available for download here. Our thanks to Siva Subramaniam for again hosting the event at Laksamana College of Business and for organizing the excellent refreshments afterwards.
At the first Speaker Meeting of 2016, members were treated to a fascinating expose by Mike Cotterill, International Business Director, Security for QinetiQ in the Asia Pacific and Middle East at Laksamana College of Business. In his talk, Mike offered a revealing and sobering glimpse of what is really going on in “cyberspace”. One of his interesting conclusions was that, in many cases, cyber wars are taking the place of conventional wars, and that there’s always something we can do to make sure that our information (often the most valuable resource in our business) is safeguarded as much as possible. The number of questions from the audience both in the meeting room and during the networking session afterwards showed that Mike’s content had clearly resonated with everyone present. To help members review their IT security, Mike also passed out a useful checklist to what to think about when reviewing IT security. A copy of this is available for download here. Our thanks go to Andrew Caie, for organising an excellent opening to the year’s Speaker Meeting lineup and to Siva Subramaniam for hosting the event.
Dr Roman Zytek, Chief Economist Monetary Policy and Investment at the AMBD, gave an informative and interactive talk on the
general state of the global and ASEAN economies. Topics ranged from investments to inflation,
energy to emerging markets and the demographic and human capital issues facing the region.
Dr Zytek made the meeting even more lively by encouraging participants to ask questions and challenge views held. His sense of humour and dynamic presentation of a wide-ranging and often little-appreciated subject were key to an active and good-natured debate amongst those assembled.
Dato Timothy Ong, Chairman of Asia Inc Forum, sharing his thoughts on AEC 2015
Lyndsay Rajah, chair of BBBF
The Asean Economic Community (AEC) is an achievable vision but it won’t happen by 2015 according to Dato Timothy Ong, the Chairman of Asia Inc Forum, who was the speaker at the event organised by the Britain Brunei Business Forum (BBBF), entitled “The Asean Economic Community: A Business Perspective”. Dato Timothy Ong is no stranger to the business economics of the Asean region and to me, he is the google human of economics who studies and understands the different kinds of factors that influences policies and the business environments especially among Asean countries.
"I still remember of the Asean Summit last year where Brunei was championing the event and the highlight of the Summit was the Asean Economic Community which they envision to be ready by 2015. Dato Timothy Ong believes that such target will be reached but not by 2015. This is because of the different policies, cultures, level of developments (developed and developing countries) and many more. But these factors alone will take some time before all the Asean countries can come to a consensus on AEC. I do have to agree on one strong point Dato raised and that is the level of urgency from different state leaders. Yes, all the state leaders are heading for AEC but perhaps the level of urgency ain’t the same. So this could affect the target of having AEC by 2015."
After Dato Ong’s delivery on his business perspective, he went on to answer questions raised by the invited guests ranging from deputy permanent secretaries, ambassadors, high commissioners, government officials to entrepreneurs. I have to admit the questions were ongoing until the end of the session and Dato Timothy was the right candidate to respond due to his vast knowledge of Asean policies and business culture.
I really learned more about Asean in that one hour than my history classes back in high school, Thank you to BBBF for the invitation.
During the Q & A session