BRUNEI-MUARA – Brunei Shell Petroleum (BSP) awarded $155,000 in interest-free loans to five local companies on Tuesday as part of its drive to support entrepreneurship through the LiveWIRE Business Awards Start-Up Funding Scheme (BASFS). 

Winners received grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 (to be repaid over 36 months) which will be used to finance their business growth.

The recipients for the first BASFS were: Temburong poultry farm Hazeeyah Duck Farm with a grant of $50,000; bicycle rental company Santai Ride with $45,000; catering business Pondok Selera Kitani with $30,000; mobile Quran teaching service Al-Huffaz Management with $20,000; and Roys Car Wash with $10,000.

A total of seven companies were shortlisted, but two were eventually cut due to weak business plans, said LiveWIRE Brunei chairperson Hjh Rosita Hj Hassan. 

She explained that BSP had invested $300,000 in the startup funding scheme and plans to hold the BASFS competition twice a year, with the next round open in February 2019. 

Hjh Rosita said five mentors were assigned to the grant recipients as part of the contract signed between the LiveWIRE Brunei and the winning companies. 

“The mentors will look into how the recipients run their businesses and manage their cash flow. The repayments received from them will ensure continuous cash flow that will be used to pay for the [funding grant] in the next cycle,” she said.

To vie for funding, startups need to have attended LiveWIRE’s business programmes to be eligible to enter the LiveWIRE Brunei Business Awards.

The awards are split into two categories: one awarding the best business plans and the other focusing on startups that have been operational from six months to three years, and showcase sustainability, good governance, and a promising growth trajectory.

LiveWIRE Brunei is an enterprise development programme created by BSP in 2001, running training and workshops to support entrepreneurship and sustainable economic development.