Five start-ups are set to grow after receiving funding totalling $155k (US $112.8k) under the first Shell LiveWIRE Brunei Business Awards Start-Up Funding Scheme (BASfs).

The new funding scheme was introduced to support the continuous efforts of the Bruneian Government to diversify the economy and enable the rapid development of SMEs in the country. An MoU signed with Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) will see the bank managing the funds and providing support to the recipient businesses.

Tembourong duck farm, Hazeeyah Agro Farm received $50k (US $36.3k); bicycle rental company Santaiaje Niaga Enterprise 45k (US $32.7k); catering business Pondok Selera Kitani $30k (US $21.8k); mobile Al-Quran teaching service Al-Huffaz Management $20k (US $14.5k); and, Roy’s Car Wash $10k (US $7.3k).

In order to receive the interest free loan funding, the entrepreneurs had to demonstrate to an expert panel that they have a robust, viable business plan, that the business is scalable, and they have ambitions to grow and create jobs. The loan is to be repaid over 3 years, and the start-ups will receive mentoring for 36 months to help them achieve their expansion plans.

Founder of Hazeeyah Agro Farm, Nur Haziyah produces high quality salted duck eggs for the lucrative local market. She plans to use her $50k to develop a second duck farm on a 0.7 acre plot of land where she is planning to rear another 4,000 ducks on top of the 800 she already farms. “Together with our current farm, our expanded business will be farming upwards of 6,000 ducks in three years,” said Haziyah, whose entrepreneurial endeavours have lifted her family out of poverty.

Santaiaje Niaga Enterprise, one of the first businesses to rent tandem bicycles at Brunei’s parks, is planning to use the $45k funding to acquire eight new premium multi-rider bikes with leather seats and roofing. “We began at the Agro Park a few years ago with just five bikes when it was still open to the public,” said Siti Nooridah Hj Muhd Bokhari, who runs the business full-time with her husband. “Now we have a fleet of over 40 tandem bikes, with most of our rentals at the Mahkota Jubli Emas Park in the capital.”

Pondok Selera Kitani, a home-based catering business started by Addie Fadlie Samsudin, will be using the $30k to build an industrial kitchen within his home. “Up to now, we’ve been using our domestic kitchen, but with business booming we need a bigger space that can also meet Halal requirements. The grant will enable us to expand production with even better consistency,” said Addie.

Al-Huffaz Management, which is a platform that supplies Al-Quran teachers to deliver lessons to students in their own homes, is planning to invest the $20k in technology and marketing to expand the platform’s reach overseas. “We’ve grown the platform to 150 teachers tutoring 700 students across Brunei,” said founder Hj Loqman Al-Hakim Hj Hamdan, adding, “But through our web platform, we have the ability to cater internationally through video lessons. We can also expand to other countries by recruiting teachers from that area onto our platform and matching them with customers.”

Roy’s Car Wash, run by Pg Raithullah and his daughter Dk Nur Hayatul Muta-Wakilah, will use its $10k to procure more professional tools for cleaning.

Welcoming the launch of BASfs, Dr Ceri Powell, Managing Director, Brunei Shell Petroleum, said, “In our continuous effort to support the development of SMEs and MSMEs in Brunei, Shell via LiveWIRE Brunei has launched the Business Star-Up Awards funding scheme for Bruneians participating in the LiveWIRE Brunei Business Awards.

“The intent of this is to further accelerate the businesses, to make them more sustainable and give them a way to secure capital to jump start the early phase of their business ideas.”

Chairperson of LiveWIRE Brunei and In-Country Value Manager, Brunei Shell Petroleum, Hjh Rosita Hj Hassan added that BASfs is planning to provide up to $300k (US $218k) in financing for start-ups annually, with each company receiving between $5k -$50k (US $3.6k - $36.4k).