SME stands for Small to Medium Enterprise. Different countries define SMEs differently. SMALL-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play an increasingly important role in the global economy, with a growing proportion now doing business internationally.
In April 1997, The Registrar of Companies and Names has at least 40,000 registered business under sole proprietorship or partnership and 2,000 companies. Almost 90% of these are considered as small and medium enterprises(SMEs). These businesses have between 0 - 100 employees.
About 39% of the SMEs are in manufacturing and construction, 32% in the services sector, including 23.5% in trading and wholesale activities, while the rest are in primary production activities.
Recognising the significant role of SMEs, the primary role of the Brunei Government is to create a good business environment to strengthen the competitiveness of SMEs by providing: Administrative Support Investment and Trading Opportunities Technical Assistance Financial Assistance Incentives
Administrative Support - The Resource Centre coordinates the programmes and activities of the government agencies and private sectors that are responsible for SMEs. Four divisions under the Resource Centre that addresses the needs of SMEs are Entrepreneur Development Division, Technology Transfer Division, Management Information System Division and Incubator Division. In addition, the one-stop agency under the Brunei Industrial Development Authority provides administrative support in the implementation of the industrial development programme and trade requirement.
Investment and Trading Opportunities - An investment / trading arm of the Government has been created with the objective of accelerating strategic industrial development in Brunei Darussalam through foreign direct investment.
Financial Assistance - Industrial Development Fund is given to SMEs to support their financial needs through the Enterprise Establishment Scheme, Enterprise Development Scheme and the Regional Cooperation Project Scheme.
Incentives - To promote the development and expansion of SME activities, tax and investment incentives, including tax exemption for imported raw materials and machinery, are given to SMEs involved in industries related to food, for local and export market, and industries utilising local resources.
Technical Assistance - Assistance given are in the form of training services, incubation programmes, technical and business advisory services and infrastructure assistance.
Major player in industrial development that has a high potential in contributing to the diversification of the economy. SMEs are crucial to the economic growth process and play an important role in the country's overall production network. SMEs have the potential to contribute substantially to the economy and can provide a strong foundation for the growth of new industries as well as strengthening existing ones.
Brunei Darussalam's SMEs through manufacturing and primary resources activities with value adding, high technology and export orientation, and the tourism sector will be the engine of growth of economic diversification that will steer the nation through the global economic challenges of the 21st century.