The Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards is a world-class recognition celebrating and honouring business leaders who have shown outstanding performance and tenacity in developing successful businesses within the Asia Pacific region. With 16 countries holding the APEA each year, it is by far the most recognised awards of its kind in Asia Pacific. We spoke to five of the winners from Brunei for their business advice.
Nazmi Textile Mall
Nazeer Ahamed opened his first textile shop at Wisma Jaya in Bandar in 1992 and there are now 11 Nazmi Textile shops in Brunei as well as another branch in Dubai. Each is managed with the same principles and concepts implemented by Nazeer to ensure the satisfaction of their customers. Nazeer is also renowned for his philanthropic work which is linked to his company’s CSR projects.
What is the most difficult part about being an entrepreneur?
You must have a set of strong shoulders. Running a business is about being responsible for your family and your employees. It is also about fulfilling your commitment by keeping your promises to your customers. These fundamentals may sound simple, but are not easy to carry out.
What is the best part?
I have won the APEA award 3 times. It is a huge honour because it validates our hard work and our contribution to our society. I am working hard not only for myself and my organisation. I hope it (the award) can be an inspiration for more Bruneians to start businesses on their own and to contribute to the society with CSR programs.
I also hope that it will be an impetus for the business people within the Indian business community to aspire to greater achievements. Hopefully, one day because of our example, there will be more Indian business people winning this award.
What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs wanting to start their own business?
I say go for it! The income is too limited earning a fixed salary alone. By starting your own business, you are open to more opportunities and can control your own destiny. And you will also be in a position to make a positive impact the economy as well. The best part is that you will be able to make a difference to your family and the community as a whole. No doubt it is not going to be an easy journey. However, keep trying; keep searching for the right formula and be passionate and honest in your dealings. You will enjoy the fruit of your labour one day, if you do not give up.
What did your journey in business teach you about leadership?
I think the most important thing about leadership is having a sincere care for the people working for you. In our organisation, we ensure that all our employees are well taken care of, by anticipating what their needs are in advance. For example, everyone who works for us enjoys the best health benefitthey have a card to visit JPMC whenever they are ill.
We make sure that they do not need to worry about their food and drinks while they are at work. We go to great lengths to take care of the basics for them, so that they will give us and our customers the best service they possibly could.
We are lucky to have some very loyal local staff members who have been with us for over 14 years. We even sponsored one of our employees to Umrah in Mecca in return for their loyalty, hard work and commitment towards the company.