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Bank committed to investing in local start-ups (2021)

BY Lyna Mohamad

Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD), in recognising that start-ups are a key component in economic diversification, is invested in supporting the local start-up ecosystem through various efforts aimed at encouraging innovation and creativity.

BIBD is currently looking into developing a programme that would invite tertiary students and start-ups to submit fresh ideas and innovative fintech solutions, which is under the education/entrepreneurship pillars of the bank’s corporate social responsibility.

This was shared by BIBD Chief Marketing Officer Hajah Nurul Akmar binti Haji Mohd Jaafar at a press conference hosted by BIBD at the Executive Lounge of its headquarters in the capital on Friday.

Hajah Nurul Akmar also noted that the bank is open to partnering with local fintechs.

She said the programme would be structured in such a way that participants are provided with industry mentorship and development opportunities, with a grant for winning participants to develop their solutions further.

The programme will create a conduit of innovation and puts BIBD in the middle of an ecosystem that supports fintech start-ups while also building a pipeline for enterprising tertiary students.

As the largest financial institution in the country, BIBD has always been committed to supporting the development of local start-ups. The bank has complemented national efforts to boost the local economy with various small and medium enterprise (SME)-related initiatives as well as by empowering them with robust and comprehensive digital business solutions.

The bank’s SME360 platform is a comprehensive banking solution that complements the needs of businesses and includes access to a dedicated relationship management team, financial solutions as well as digital payments, in support of the nation’s drive towards becoming a Smart Nation powered by a digital economy.

Roughly 80 per cent of BIBD’s corporate customers are micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), who have access to the SME360 platform.

BIBD’s support for the Smart Nation initiative is an integral part of the bank’s commitment to being a Partner in Progress and BIBD’s ecosystem of digital payments, which is powered by the BIBD NEXGEN platform, extends to partnerships beyond the banking sector with the most recent one being the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

The recent partnership with the ministry covers the ability to make payment of Zakat Fitrah via BIBD QuickPay, which is an extension of the Go Cashless Go Digital campaign which BIBD launched last year.

As part of the bank’s efforts to better understand the particular needs and preferences of MSME’s and build innovative approaches, products and tools to reach out to them, BIBD will soon launch its own Merchant Portal.

This will provide MSME’s and start-ups with insights and tools to manage their day-to-day bank-related business operations with the added convenience of being able to access these facilities online.

BIBD Mastercard Payment Gateway Services are also offered to MSMEs wishing to receive digital payments, which is particularly useful for start-ups who hope to scale up and offer their services beyond the local market where the bank offers this at little to no cost, along with existing digital payment solutions such as QuickPay and physical credit card terminals.

In addition, the bank regularly partners with up-and-coming start-ups employing young locals with a shared vision to support the nation’s digital transformation through strategic collaborations and partnerships, supporting these local start-ups in their journey of growth.

One example is BIBD partnering with Pocket, a lifestyle app with its own QR-based digital payment system to promote its credit cards. This signals the bank’s willingness to take a collaborative approach with new players in the fintech space.

The bank also worked closely with Think Axis, a local start-up specialising in artificial intelligence (AI) solutions, machine learning as well as web and mobile development to create the bank’s latest CSR initiative, Community for Brunei and most recently, BIBD is looking into collaborating with Beep, an up-and-coming digital payment solutions provider.

Three of the local companies was also showcased at the press conference on Friday and represented by Ivan Ninan of ThreeG Media, Rahman Yoonus of Think Axis and Denny Muslim of BEEP.

BIBD, through collaboration and innovation, hopes to achieve its goal of digital and financial inclusion by creating mutually beneficial synergies with local start-ups where this collaborative approach will bring added benefits to the consumers, offering greater choice and solutions to wider segments of the community, in service of the nation’s aspirations to become a Smart Nation and in support of the Digital Economy Masterplan 2025.

-- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

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