A friend tagged me a photo (on Facebook) of his homemade healthy sandwiches made from our Low GI bread recently bought at our Batu Bersurat branch. A “simple yet delightful sandwich” indeed. Our Low GI bread now comes in loafs which is available at both Batu Bersurat as well as JPMC branch.
Brunei’s Health Promotion Centre, under the Ministry of Health, has officially launched the “Healthy Restaurant” program last weekend with the aim of encouraging restaurants and eateries around Brunei to come up with more healthy options in their menu. The launch was officiated by the Deputy Permanent Secretary of MoH, Dr Hjh Rahmah Hj Md Said, and attended by several Heads of Department including Dr Awang Zainal Ariffin bin Haji Awang Yahya, General Director, Ministry of Health.
So far, 3 restaurants have been selected to participate on this pilot program and it is an honor that Mr Baker’s Cafeteria is one of the chosen ones. To be eligible, certain criteria must be fulfilled including the screening of food recipes and ingredients used in our products. When asked by Dr Hjh Rahmah what are the popular dishes in our menu, I explained that we only serve healthy sandwiches, muffins and salads. Our sandwiches are so easy to prepare that our customers can actually make them at home, saving the hassle of eating out. Dr Hjh Rahmah, a bread lover, asked for my recommendation and without any doubt, I recommended Jan Shim‘s most favorite bread, the Muesli bread. Both Dr Hjh Rahmah and Dr Awg Zainal Ariffin sampled the muesli bread and they are impressed.
Every beginning of the year, I would look back and ask myself what I had achieved in the past 12 months. Year 2013 had been a great year for Mr Baker as a whole. We developed specialty muffins under Muffins&Co., collaborating with Brunei’s Health Promotion Centre on their healthy restaurant program and months of products development with an international franchise establishment landed us a deal which is going to keep our production line busy for a good period of time. However, my greatest moment in 2013 is none other than reaching the summit of Mount Kinabalu on 18th December 2013.
I started training for #MountKK2013 in August last year after the month of Ramadhan. Most of my training was at Bukit Shahbandar. The first attempt was a nightmare as I could barely catch my breath right after the first concrete steps. If you are a regular of Shahbandar, you would know exactly which concrete steps I am referring to. It was then I realized that I had to work harder in order to reach the summit as I know there isn’t going to be any easy way. I was pretty much determined (and disciplined) that I literally set a 90-day #MountKK Challenge on my personal Facebook account and monitored the progress on daily basis.
To read more about our Mount Kinabalu unforgettable experience, do visit Cyril’s blog HERE.
The long waited first ever Starbucks Coffee in Brunei finally opened yesterday at Mabohai Shopping Complex. As a long time fan of this franchise, I feel privileged to be asked to make the celebration cake bearing Starbucks logo and I must credit our cake stylist, Chef Rommel, with another job well done.
The venue for CAAYE Summit 2013 was held at the glamorous Stein Studios, Ratmalana which is about 30 minutes from Colombo. It was a whole day event started from around 10AM until 7PM. We (the Brunei delegates) left before the gala dinner as we needed to rush back to hotel, pack our luggages and catch the midnight flight back home (via KL). It was a wonderful learning experience as I had the opportunity to meet and talk to some of the remarkable business owners / entrepreneurs and the successful stories shared by the speakers were truly inspirational. To read more about CAAYE, click Here or you may visit their Facebook Page Here.
This is the first time that I got invited to represent Brunei for an international event and I must thank YEAB and Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports for this unforgettable experience. This Summit allows me to see a bigger picture of the business world out there, the challenges and how we, the younger generation, could build sustainable businesses and contribute to the economy as a whole.
If I am asked to share my 12 years of entrepreneurship experiences and to give some words of advice to the young entrepreneurs in Brunei, here are my words.
Business is about endurance, passion and dedication and bear in mind that result does not show overnight. Think out of the box and dare to be different. Always embrace challenges and failures. Know your strengths as these are your best weapons.
The itinerary for 2nd day in Colombo was business to business (B2B) meeting starting from morning until noon where entrepreneurs of the same industry across the nations were brought together for networking, sharing of ideas or perhaps exploring the possibility of any business collaborations. I did not attend the meeting but went for city visits instead as I have always wanted to see the differences between urban and rural areas of Colombo.
After a few hours well spent in the city, we then head back to the hotel to get ready for the inauguration ceremony hosted at the auditorium of The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. The Governor of the Central Bank was invited to officiate the ceremony. The theme for this year is “Profit with Purpose” and below is an abstract from CAAYE website of what the summit is all about.
The CAAYE Young Entrepreneur Summit is an annual event where 200 young entrepreneurs from all the Commonwealth-Asia region countries (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei) will collectively meet for 3 days to network, build business linkages, conduct field studies, attend learning sessions and jointly prepare a set of recommendations to improve the ecosystem of youth entrepreneurship in the form of an official communiqué that will be submitted to member Governments through the Commonwealth secretariat. Also the official communiqué will be presented to the CHOGM held in Colombo in November, 2013 The focus of the 2013 edition of the Summit is to share best practices and prepare recommendations to inculcate the philosophy of “Profit with Purpose” among young entrepreneurs.
Finally back in Brunei after 3 eventful days in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Not only have I seen a bigger picture of the business world out there and got the chance to meet and talk to some of the remarkable entrepreneurs of international brands in the world, I have also realized and learn to appreciate the value of life more. As there are so much to share on the experiences encountered throughout the whole trip, I am going to break it down into 3 parts i.e. Part I, Part II and Part III. I truly enjoyed the entire trip and the fantastic camaraderie with all the other 6 Brunei delegates namely Fatin, Hiro, Nani, Khairi, Ryan and ofcourse my wife Yii Ven.
First and foremost, I would like to express my gratitude to the Young Entrepreneurs Association Brunei (Fatin Arifin in particular) for the invitation, The Ministry of Culture, Youth & Sports for the support and the High Commission of Brunei in New Delhi for arranging the accommodation and logistics without whom our stays in Colombo would not be as smooth.
We arrived at Colombo International Airport at around 1AM (Sri Lanka time) and by the time we reached the hotel and checked in to our room, it was almost 3AM. The wake up call buzzed at 6AM sharp and by 7:30AM, the chauffeur came and picked us up and off we go to an assembly point about 10 minutes drive from the hotel. The itinerary for the first day was field visits to various industries (Tea, Ceramics, ICT and Service) where I chose to visit a tea factory located at southern part of Sri Lanka. We took approximately 3 hours bus ride to reach the factory and spent 1.5 hours there to witness the entire process of how tea is processed – plucking, withering, rolling, oxidation and drying. After the tea factory, we were then brought to a small wood crafting factory after we had our lunch at Kurunduwatta Holiday Resort. Most of the crafting works are handmade which are labour intensive. I was told the finished products will then be sold to towns and other urban areas.
I find the people living in rural areas very friendly and are able to communicate in English well. The common mode of transport is tuk-tuk (see image below) and fresh bananas seem to be popular here.
Day 1 ended with a dinner by the beach just behind Berjaya Hotel. Stay tuned for Part II where I visited some of the city area attractions, monument of the first Prime Minister of Ceylon and inaugural night of CAAYE Summit 2013.