In an effort to further encourage and inspire local companies to venture abroad, the Brunei Economic Development Board (BEDB) organised another SME Dialogue and Workshop. This is the fifth in a series of dialogues organised by the BEDB involving successful entrepreneurs from around the region, a press release stated.
In his opening remarks, the guest of honour, Dato Paduka Awg Hj Mohd Roselan bin Hj Mohd Daud, Permanent Secretary at the Prime Minister's Office, urged local businesses to consider venturing outside Brunei. No doubt, he said, there will be risks and challenges, particularly when venturing into new unchartered waters.
Nonetheless, local SMEs need to acknowledge that, in the rather limited and competitive local business environment today, there is a need to look out for new markets in an increasingly open and globalised world. Local SMEs, he added, must acknowledge the need to change certain aspects of doing business in order for them to gain a successful foothold in the global arena.
These include good governance and good business practices, as well as an understanding of the business environment in the countries they intend to venture into.
Two successful entrepreneurs, Douglas Foo, Chairman and CEO of Sakae Holdings Limited, Singapore and Ricardo Z Cuna, President and CEO of Milkin Corporation and ACG Inc of the Philippines were invited to share their personal experience in building their respective companies and how they have ventured out of Singapore and the Philippines, respectively, to become regional players.
Douglas is the founder of Sakae Holdings, one of the fastest growing food groups in Singapore. With over 60 outlets worldwide, the company's Sakae Sushi chain has expanded into Thailand, Indonesia, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Hong Kong and the US.
Ricardo is the founding member of the Association of Filipino Franchisers Inc. His passion and love for ice cream propelled him to venture into the ice cream business in Manila. He constantly refines his knowledge of ice cream and has attended courses at various ice cream institutions. The company has set up branches in Malaysia and the Middle East.
The SME Dialogue consisted of two one-day sessions. The morning session began with each speaker presenting his or her experiences with the audience and ended with a question-and-answer session.
In the afternoon, a workshop on "Franchising: Challenges and Opportunities" was held at the same venue. Participants of the workshop were given the opportunity to discuss the franchising model. Both Douglas and Ricardo also offered practical tips on how to franchise businesses and overcome some of the common challenges in franchising.