‘Traditional products can succeed with right efforts’

National 1 minute, 57 seconds


TRADITIONAL products have the potential of becoming successful with proper innovation and marketing.

Mohammad Rafee Hj Shahif, a lecturer at the Brunei Studies Academy of Universiti Brunei Darussalam, made the comment on the sidelines of the three-day Brunei Traditional Industry Seminar and Exhibition.

He gave the example of Mochi, a traditional Japanese delicacy which bears many resemblances to Kuih Koci but has seen international success through innovation with different flavours, using preservatives to increase its shelf life and proper marketing.

“There is potential in our products, but many (locals) aren’t confident enough to venture further. I hope in the future, our younger generation will become more industrialised and move into entrepreneurship,” said Mohammad Rafee, who is teaching the Brunei Traditional Industry module.

Through the exhibition, which is part of the module, he would like to promote the idea and potential of innovating traditional products for sale not only locally but globally.

“They just need to look around their families and their villages, what can they industrialise. If they can’t go into technology or anything technical, then they should go into something that’s possible for them,” said Mohammad Rafee.

To aid his students in their venture into entrepreneurship, Mohammad Rafee has recommended to them to visit certain departments and industries to understand the business and the rules.

“For example, I asked them to visit 10 important places such as the Labour Department, certain industries and others like farms,” he added.

According to Mohammad Rafee, the module was available at the university for years but was revised from a theoretical course to a more practical course in 2009 which required students to gain hands-on experience and learn to properly market their products.

“The aim is to help give an alternative for students as jobs are difficult to find in Brunei’s current economic situation. To avoid wasting our human resources, I would like to see our graduates in the future have a second choice, which is to become entrepreneurs,” he said.

However, he said that starting from the university level may be too late as it becomes difficult for them to move into entrepreneurship, especially if they have decided on a field or profession.

“I think it’s still a long run, but at least we have the idea and we’re building on it.”

The Brunei Times