Young entrepreneurs set sights on gold
February 8, 2010
PROMOTING products online can help give a retailer international presence, helping to promote local goods and products to the international market, said Freedomsoft's King Seh Horng.
The 21-year-old computer engineering student in Curtin University, Miri, said that there are a lot of businesses in Brunei trying to get online to attract an international audience but lack the expertise to do so.
"They haven't been given the opportunity to do this ... they want to sell their stuff online but have no knowledge on how to do this," he said, adding that this was the driving force which led him and his 22-year-old brother, King Seh Haur, towards developing the Freedomsoft E-Commerce Directory Site Project which landed the top honours of this year's ThinkBig Business Plan competition.
The Freedomsoft E-Commerce Directory Site Project is a web-based portal that will allow local merchants and buyers to interact with one another.
"The merchants will be able to post their products and services (on this portal), making it very convenient for both merchants and buyers to do business," he said.
"Basically all the merchants have to do is sign up for an account with us and they will be given an online page with a basic template where they can add their products, along with prices and product details, to a list for customers," added King who has had six years of programming experience from working as a freelancer.
"We see that Brunei is missing this kind of platform. This is a next generation platform for businesses," he said.
He said the web portal will also include a secure payment system, although this is still in the developmental stage.
"We are hoping to work out a deal with the local banks, if not then we will seek an account with USA payment services," he said, adding that Paypal was not considered at the moment because it might be inconvenient for purchasers.
"The thing with Paypal in Brunei is that it doesn't allow you to withdraw money. You can only deposit money but cannot withdraw it so this is a problem," he said.
He also spoke of how potential customers will have the choice of registering either for a free basic or premium account.
"The basic plan will be free but maybe only a limited number of products can be listed," said the 21-year-old.
The price for the premium plan is still being considered but King said it should be "very reasonable".
When asked what is the current stage of development of the Freedomsoft E-Commerce Directory Site Project, King replied that they now have a rough working solution.
"We just have to improve on the details but we are quite confident because this has a lot of potential," he said.
He also spoke of challenges they face, one of which, surprisingly, was the registering of the company in Brunei.
"Establishing a company in Brunei is quite a daunting task. We are quite new to this but hopefully we will be able to do this quickly and efficiently. We hope to establish the company soon and launch it within a few months," he said. -- The Brunei Times
Two Teams Win 2nd THiNK BIG Grand Prize Award
January 21, 2010
Bandar Seri Begawan - Winners of the second iCentre THiNK BIG Business Plan Competition were announced and awarded prizes yesterday, after some 22 man-hours of tough judging to identify the groups and individuals with the best business plans and presentations.
This year's competition saw four top ICT business plans being nominated as finalists. However, judgment in the top ICT Business Plan category reached a stalemate, and as a result the Final Judging Panel decided to award a Joint Grand Prize Award to both Mimit E-Technology on their Go Halal project and Freedomsoft on their E-Commerce Directory Site project.
Each team walked away with a B$15,000 cash prize. Mimit E-Technology also won the Special Merit Award for ICT based Islamic Application with an additional cash prize of $5,000.
Crescent Sdn Bhd, led by Hjh Salmah Hj Abd Latiff won the $5,000 third prize in the ICT Business Plan Competition. Meanwhile, the Special Award for College and University Students was given to RevoTech Sdb Bhd for their project called myTouch. They received a cash prize of $2,000. The competition winners received their prizes yesterday, in an award presentation ceremony held at the Indera Kayangan Ballroom, The Empire Hotel & Country Club.
Present as guest of honour at the awards ceremony was Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Dewa Major General (Rtd) Dato Seri PahlawanAwg Hj Mohammad bin Hj Daud, the Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister's Office.
In his welcoming remarks, the Acting Chairman of the BEDB, Dato Paduka Timothy Ong, said the Board will continue its ideal in promoting and encouraging the development of ICT business related activities. The ideal, he added, is about conveying what is a sensible business idea or innovation into reality.
The competition has been on a roll in attracting more promising entrepreneurs. This time around, the event saw remarkable enthusiasm and determination among competitors and the ability of existing players to develop their technologies.
One of the success stories from this year's competition was that of joint grand prize winners Freedomsoft, a team of two brothers still in college - King Seh Horng, 21, and King Seh Haur, 22 - who two years ago came up with a now-award-winning project called the e-Commerce Directory Site Project.
According to the organisers, the several criteria for judgment were not easy to fulfill. The criteria included "innovation and value proposition", "market potential and marketing strategy", "competitive advantage and intellectual property strategy", "business model and financial soundness", "investability" and team make-up and strength.
The competition was organised by iCentre, a BEDB initiative by KR Consulting, an arm of NUS Enterprise. This ear's event attracted an unprecedented 50 submissions, 11 more than in the first and previous competition.
Mr Edmund Yong, Managing Director of Accel-X Fund, Singapore and chairman of the competition's final judging committee, gave an overview of the state of this year's competition. He said that this year's judging was tougher than in the previous competition, adding that this year's projects are of higher quality in terms of both business idea and presentation.
Mr Yong reminded all the finalists that "it matters not who wins and who loses, but most importantly everyone as learnt something out of the process and has benefited from the various suggestions and comments from the -edging panel".
Pehin Major General (Rtd) Dato Seri Pahlawan Awg Hj lohammad addressed the issues about future entrepreneurs and how the event has created another milestone "in our effort to discover new talents and develop new ideas and nurture them to remain at the forefront of cutting edge developments".
He also underlined the importance of supporting the young entrepreneurs by providing a platform in which the can share their vision, and touched on how the power of ICT can assist in these ideas "to create new economic and social benefits".
The guest of honour also praised iCentre for creating these chances for them by having the Business Plan Competition as it contributes to the development of ICT industry in the country. Meanwhile, Dr Lily Chan, also member of the iCentre Management Advisory Team, congratulated those who ha; embarked on the long journey throughout the competition_
"We at iCentre can only support, coach, mentor and provide the necessary platform for you to realise your aspirations," she said in her speech. "It's you who took the path to realise your dreams, taking a different path, exploring what its like to be an entrepreneur."
Judges in the competition included key figures from both the private sector and academia including BAG Networks, UBD, BSP, BEDB, DST, G4S, ITB, KPMMG, NUS, TelBru, Asia Inc Forum, IFB, UNISSA and AiTi.
The ceremony was also attended by key figures from public and private sectors as well as prominent members of the local business community. -- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin
Halal accreditation system, e-commerce win ThinkBig
January 21, 2010
BUSINESS plans for a system to help firms in getting halal accreditation and an e-commerce directory tied for the grand prize of this year's ThinkBig Business Plan competition.
In a press statement issued yesterday, iCentre, the contest's organiser, said judges awarded the joint grand prize to Mimit-E-Technology for its Go Halal project and Freedomsoft for its E-Commerce Directory project.
Both walked away with $15,000 each.
Mimit E-Technology also won the Special Merit Award for ICT-based Islamic application with an additional cash prize of $5,000.
Hj Rushdi El-Hakim Dato Hj Ibrahim, managing director of Mimit E-Technology, said "We were actually shocked when we were called to win the grand prize. We were targeting to win the Islamic category then when we got the call it just made things so worth it that our effort has been paid off, the sleepless nights we had and so on."
Abdul Hadi Embran, the company's marketing director, said, "We do not mind sharing the prize, and we feel that it is good to know that we have youth who are now developing applications as Brunei has limited ICT human resources."
King Seh Horng, of Freedomsoft, on their E-Commerce Directory Site project, said "This programme is to help us encourage people to be involved in e-commerce. We tried to combine it into a platform and the programme is just like a directory where people can browse and search for products by several merchants, like an online store."
His partner, King Seh Haur, said, "It is not exactly like eBay but there will be more features than eBay forums and stuff people can discuss."
Both said they will be investing most of the money from their winnings into developing the programme.
The award ceremony was attended by Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Dewa Major General (Ret) Dato Seri Pahlawan Hj Mohammad Hj Daud, the minister of energy. "Today, we are already witnessing our younger generations endowed with vitality, creativity and dynamism, that if optimally exploited, could contribute significantly to national achievement," said the minister. He added that the role of the youth today in shaping today's "society and business environment is becoming increasingly evident, giving them unprecedented opportunities to take charge of their learning processes and seek to adapt, adopt and leverage different possibilities to harness their own skills".
Crescent Sdn Bhd, helmed by Hjh Salma Hj Abdul Latif, won the third prize and $5,000 for a business plan on an educational programme which would allow individuals to get their Master's degree in Islamic Banking and Finance.
"The aim of doing this was to get a global reach and I can get that through the Internet. The reason was to ensure that the right Islamic knowledge is passed into the market system because now, a lot of banks have curved and bent certain syariah rules to get their products out in the market," she said. She added that her winnings will go into her capital for her business, and that she went into the competition also to bring publicity to her product and to let the public know that such a product will be available soon.
Dato Paduka Timothy Ong, acting chairman of the Brunei Economic Development Board, said, "I am very encouraged by this year's ThinkBig competition. The number of participants have gone up from 39 to 50 and I am very encouraged by the participation in the students category."
He added, "I hope that after this competition they will have less problems, but only the future will give us the answer. Each success brings new challenges and it is a journey. I'm very pleased (the winners) have got to this point and I wish them the very best in the next stage," he said.
"I'm a great believer in young people, and I believe that the young people have much greater potential than we sometimes give them credit for," said Dato Paduka Ong. He said that what was needed for the youth was "encouragement and the environment to encourage them to excel".
Dr Lily Chan, the chief executive officer of NUS Enterprise, and Edmund Yong, managing partner to Accel-X, and ICT venture capitalist, both addressed the audience at the event as well. -- The Brunei Times
Copyright reserved © 2012 Brustores
Brustores is managed by Cubebox Solutions
Unit 10, 2nd Floor, iCentre, Block B28, Simpang 32-37
Kampung Anggerek Desa, Jalan Berakas, Bandar Seri Begawan BB3713