‘Home-based entrepreneurs not willing to take risks’

National 2 minutes, 25 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

MANY home-based entrepreneurs are not willing to take risks to expand their businesses as they lack confidence and training to market their products, said grassroots leaders.

Village Head of Kg Sungai Kebun Hj Marali Hj Matzin said home-based business owners are normally run by senior citizens who do not have the knowledge and confidence to operate large-scale businesses.

He is considering inviting residents to attend business workshops by experts.

“The problem is that residents do not come. An ICT workshop was held last year to help residents on how to set up business. But only two residents turned up,” said Hj Marali.

Hj Asli Hj Mamut, village head of Kg Setia A in Mukim Sungai Kebun, said home-based business owners should attend workshops conducted by experts to improve their entrepreneurial skills.

“The problem here is that they (residents) feel that they already have enough. They are afraid if they invest their money, they might lose all their money,” he said, adding that some residents prefer instant returns.

Home-based business owners interviewed by The Brunei Times said they prefer to sell their products to loyal customers who have known them for many years.

A Kg Setia A resident, Bahrom Apong, said he is comfortable selling his keropok udang (shrimp crackers) and serunding (meat floss) to customers in and around his village.

He uses word-of-mouth marketing and social media to market his products, but only delivers the products to nearby households.

Bahrom, who is also a water taxi driver, said he is reluctant to spend more on improving the packaging of his products because of his inadequate business knowledge.

“Although I have experience in selling my homemade products to customers for more than 10 years, I don’t want to do all those procedures like getting insurance, attending meetings with government officials, and hiring people. I am happy working in my house with the help of my wife,” said the 60-year-old.

Bahrom’s monthly revenue can reach up to $4,000 when clients purchase his products for weddings and Hari Raya celebrations.

Syahmon Jaluddin, a resident in Kg Batu Marang, also prefers to sell her belacan tutok (shrimp paste) from her home.

“My husband has passed away. My children are married and have jobs of their own. I learned this skill from my late mother, who inherited from my grandmother. It’s a family business, not a company business,” she said.

Syahmon, 76, said she has been selling her shrimp paste for four decades. “My customers are normally residents from the village.”

Juned Ismail, a Kg Sg Kebun resident, said he does not want to expand his commercial operations because his business is seasonal.

“People only order our kuih sapit (traditional snack) the months before Hari Raya. I run the business with the help of my wife and children. If I want to expand, I need to consider paying wages and insurance,” he said.

The Brunei Times