BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Budding entrepreneurs will now be able to receive guidance from business experts through the newly-launched Brunei Mentors for Entrepreneurs Network (BMEN).

An initiative by Darussalam Enterprise (DARe) in collaboration with the ASEAN Business Advisory Council of Brunei Darussalam (ABAC Brunei), the voluntary platform aims to connect early-age startups and MSMEs with business mentors through an effective, well-coordinated and well-structured programme.

Mentors comprise social entrepreneurs, industry experts, professionals and academics from various industries and backgrounds who will be sharing their knowledge, skills and experience.

The programme, which was launched on Friday during day two of the MSME festival at BRIDEX Hall,  also hopes to see the development of potential business partnerships.

Speaking during the event, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Manpower and Industry (MEMI) and DARe Board Member Pg Hj Mohd Hasnan Pg Hj Ali Hassan said successful business mentoring hinges on equipping MSMEs or the mentee to navigate the challenges of today’s rapidly growing business environment.

Pg Hj Mohd Hasnan, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Manpower and Industry, speaking at the launch of Brunei Mentors for Entrepreneurship Network at BRIDEX Hall on March 29, 2019. Photo: Hazimul Wa’ie/The Scoop

“[BMEN’s] establishment is timely as the country moves towards advancing and bringing MSMEs to the forefront of Brunei’s economic growth.”

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He noted that the pool of knowledge and expertise offered by the mentors will help lower barriers for MSMEs to gain access to support and guidance.

Pg Hj Mohd Hasnan said with continuous effort and coordination, BMEN can be a turning point for the country’s micro, small and medium business owners as it presents an opportunity to meet and learn from established experts.

“[Mentors would also be] re-engaging their skills, find a new sense of direction and perspective for self-development through the exchange of ideas and information with the mentees.”

BMEN mentors will have access to diverse expertise and mentoring resources provided by the ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network.

“Access to such network will certainly provide greater opportunity and visibility in promoting competitiveness of our mentors.”

The programme will have a two-way feedback system to monitor and evaluate progress of the mentorship: a mid-term review to track progress and an end-of-term one to evaluate the overall progress and effectiveness.

Mentees are not limited to one mentor under the programme, however, this will be subject to the availability of mentors.

The matching and engagement between mentors and mentees is purely on a voluntary basis and based on a mutually agreed arrangement between both parties.

The launch was followed by a talk on regional mentorship initiative by Project Advisor for ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network, Merly Cruz and a Business Forum titled “Impact of Mentorship for Growing Businesses” moderated by the CEO of Architect Ibrahim, Lisa Dato Ibrahim.

Those interested to become a mentor or mentee in the BMEN mentoring programme can register here.

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