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My Southeast Asia Ventures: After overcoming challenges in starting an emergency response firm in Brunei, my next business plan involves food

I started my career as an emergency response specialist in the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF). In 2010, after six years of honing my skills in the force, I ventured out to further develop my technical expertise through stints with companies like oil and gas firm ExxonMobil and emergency response training provider Cosem.

For those who are looking to start a business in Brunei, my advice would be to pick a reliable local partner, who can help to navigate the culture and norms within Bruneian society.

In retrospect, there is no denying the challenges of running a business in Brunei and being away from home. I strongly believe that being adaptable and flexible in business is important; how one responds to challenges that come their way is what will determine their success in life.

Brunei is a country with untapped potential. The country’s initiatives to support local businesses and enrich human capital are steps in the right direction.

Likewise, I strive to hire locals and ensure that they receive appropriate training and opportunities for career development.

I am grateful to be able to reach out (mostly through word of mouth) and provide services to so many companies within the short time that SRS Brunei has been set up — indeed the success of the company has been the high point of my time in Brunei so far.

Being a foodie, I am also diversifying into the food and beverage industry, with the support of family and friends. One of my projects-in-motion is to bring Singaporean Malay food such as nasi sambal goreng and lontong goreng into the Brunei market.

Work aside, Brunei is a veritable natural haven that I have come to enjoy in my free time. The peace and serenity in nature is an excellent escape from the hustle of city life.  

I highly recommend visiting Brunei for a few days just to immerse yourself in nature and experience a change in environment. Who knows, you might even develop an idea or two worth exploring while you are here.



Mr Mohamad Nimal Zainal, 37, is managing director of Singapore Rescue Specialist, SRS Emergency & Rescue Solutions Sdn Bhd and Temasek Reliability Services in Singapore, Brunei and Oman respectively. He specialises in emergency response, fall prevention and HSE (health, safety and environment) consulting. 

If you have an experience to share or know someone who wishes to contribute to this series, write to voices [at] with your full name, address and phone number.

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