Friday Apr 18

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The 2011 Brunei Business Forum

Today I attended Asia Inc Forum's Brunei Business Forum 2011. It was held at the Radisson Hotel's Mutiara Ballroom. The event  was themed "Promising Opportunities, Sustainable Approaches" and across the day, we heard presentations by Steve McCoy talking about "Sustainable Strategy in the Right Direction", discussions revolving around hypothetical scenarios about the "Brunei of Tomorrow" and we also take part in a Town Hall Discussion regarding local "promising opportunities and sustainable approaches".

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The Guest of Honour - YB Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Haji Awang Yahya bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Haji Bakar, Minister from the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources (MIPR) gave the introductory keynote address and spoke about doing business in Brunei. He highlighted a number of factors that needed to be considered in local business development including the development of human resources, access to finance, access to technology and innovation and building more production manufacturing sites.

Steve McCoy, Founder & Principal of Counterpoint, Malaysia then shared insights on the topic of sustainability. Steve discussed that sustainability often says "yes", was about the future, transforms the economy, and encourages and provides incentives. Oz Ahmed, Associate Director of Wholesale Banking of HSBC Amanah Malaysia then spoke about the future opportunities for Brunei in Islamic Finance. Yves Grosjean, General Manager of TOTAL E&P Borneo B.V. then took the floor, speaking about sustainability in the context of an economy driven by a non-renewable fossil fuel, i.e. Brunei.

YB Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Haji Awang Yahya bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Haji Bakar

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Steve McCoy

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Oz Ahmed

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Yves Grosjean

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Town Hall Discussion with Elizabeth Sim, Steve McCoy, Hj Shazali Dato Hj Sulaiman and Dato Paduka Awg Haji Idris bin Haji Abas

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The Town Hall discussion then took centre stage where Dato Paduka Awg Haji Idris bin Haji Abas, CEO and Principal Architect of Arkitek Idris, Hj Shazali Dato Hj Sulaiman, Chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Steve McCoy spoke about sustainability along the theme of local limitations and opportunities.

For me, there were a few take home messages including:

1. 21st century innovation must be different from 20th century innovation.

2. We need to meet the needs of the present without compromising the needs of the future.

3. The term SME in Brunei should be replaced with SMME - Small - Medium - Micro - Enterprises.

There were a number of sticky quotes too, in particular to "Think inside the Box" and that "It's not everyone's fault but it is everyone's problem". Both these quotes were shared by Steve McCoy in relation to sustainability and the environment. Both are big global issues. Huge issues in fact...affected by our day-to-day decisions. And for me, that was the point - that everything is inter-connected.

Well done again to Asia Inc Forum for another insightful and purposeful event.

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