We spoke to Hui Kwok Leong, Director of the iCentre, an entrepreneurial incubation centre, setup by the BEDB to facilitate greater knowledge based ventures among the SMEs and the provision of research grants and seed capital in the ICT Cluster.
What kind of support is available for SMEs in Brunei at the iCentre?
iCentre is the first ICT focused incubator in Brunei and we identify, nurture and develop promising ICT based startups in Brunei. What that means is that if a startup uses ICT as an important enabler in their business, we will look at incubating them. Hence, it doesn’t need to be an IT company before coming to the iCentre. We have a series of programs like workshops, mentorship with mentors from the region and the USA, business development assistances, linkages with the government, private sector and also investors from local and overseas. Hence, we help a technopreneur (vs just a entrepreneur) to bring their promising ideas to become potentially a great technology company that is Brunei originated.
What can we expect from the iCentre in 2011?
One the can expect more ICT companies from the iCentre to be expanding overseas beyond the shores of Brunei. It will be an exciting new year as the Brunei Government has launched a few supporting schemes through AITI and BEDB that will help in defraying a lot of startups risks of promising companies. This will help to encourage more to look into starting their own technology based companies. Therefore, we are also hoping to see more promising technopreneurs to join us. In addition,we hope to be able to work closely with MIPR to address the needs of entrepreneurs in general. In 2011, iCentre aims to be more collaborative with the various other agencies and Institutions of Higher Learning in developing promising technology SMEs.
What can we learn from this year’s winners of the Think Big Business Plan Award?
This year’s quality has marked improvements in the business plan proposals and also in presentation style. We are happy that ITB, UBD and Maktab Seins are all winners and have demonstrated that many good biz ideas abound in the younger generation. We hope to see further improvement in quality and quantity of the submissions in the next ThinkBig Business Plan competition to be launched in July this year.