Women’s Business Council aims to bounce back from pandemic

The Women’s Business Council – Brunei Darussalam (WBC) will be gearing up for more activities this year as they try to adapt to the new normal while simultaneously creating more platforms to uplift members affected during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The WBC-BD was established in 2000 during the APEC Women’s Leaders Network conference and is a national body of women leaders in business, academia, government, and civil society.

The council aims to represent women’s business interests and concerns and to create an avenue for exchanging ideas and developing skills, entrepreneurship and support for quality businesses for women and amongst women.

Speaking during the get-together ceremony at the Taman Haji Sir Muda Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien on the occasion of His Majesty the Sultan’s 76th Birthday, a representative of the WBC, Hjh Hammah Puasa said that there is no denying the fact that the pandemic has affected members of the council, some even more than others.

“Even though there were limitations in how we were able to conduct our business during the country’s pandemic stage, thankfully it was temporary and it was not without remedy, as we adapted ourselves with the changing times and shifted how we did business by going online,” said the 66-year-old.

She explained that through video conferencing platforms like Zoom, the WBC-BD members were still able to hold meetings amongst themselves, sharing experiences and advice on how to navigate their businesses through the pandemic.

“As women entrepreneurs and business owners, we had to survive and we had to adjust. We are not strangers to the ebb and flow of running a business, the tide was just much more unstable during the pandemic but fortunately, that did not keep our spirits down,” she said.

Hjh Hammah added that as the sultanate’s endemic phase began, the council had already made plans for activities not only within the country but also in the region as the WBC remains a nationally active body that participates in APEC and ASEAN forums.

The mother of three represents one of five WBC members to receive the Outstanding ASEAN Women Entrepreneur Award during the 2019 ASEAN Women’s Business Conference in Bangkok, Thailand.

During the same conference, she was also presented with the ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs Network (AWEN) and Pin in recognition of the success of her business.

Hjh Hammah said that currently, the council plans on diversifying its activities, to possibly include conferences or exhibitions that would showcase a multitude of women entrepreneurs from different sectors under one roof.

“We also encourage more women entrepreneurs to join our ranks because I feel that it is important for us to unite and support one another, especially now after the economic effects of the pandemic, we need to uplift one another,” she went on to say.

“As the WBC, we act more like mentors to guide and mobilise local women entrepreneurs to thrive and with our networks in the region, we aim to help them to not only grow their business domestically but also regionally,” she added.


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