Afizah Sim and Syazwana Shaminan, hello and thank you for being with us today! You’re representing Cultivate. Explain to us what that is.
AFIZAH: Cultivate is a new bistro which doubles up as a platform for MSMEs to come in and use our space to help them develop their business.
AFIZAH: Micro and Small Medium Enterprises. These are the people you see on Instagram, people who are doing business from home.
We want them to be able to use our space for a season, say three months, which in time they can cook in our kitchen, deal with customers one-on-one and learn how to grow their business on a real-time basis.
The best part of the team is that everybody is trying to come up with ideas
And they’ll be working together with Cultivate?
Interesting! How many of you in the team?
WANA: There are seven of us; two kitchen staffs, two are running the operations, another two are doing the marketing and we have Afizah taking care of general management.
The restaurant business is something of a different track for you, though, Afizah.
AFIZAH: Completely new and way off from where I came from! I’m primarily doing interior design, but we [at the company] have always been interested in the F&B business so we decided to come up with a team of people with experience in it. Brunei has a lot of institutes that train our people in hospitality and food and beverages, so we had a good pool to draw from.
Do you have a background in F&B then, Wana?
WANA: Some of the team members do! I graduated from Maktab Teknikal Sultan Saiful Rijal, where I studied Travel and Tourism services, so it’s quite similar to this industry.
So you’ll be learning to work with each other, but also with the different MSMEs coming in. How are you preparing yourselves for that?
AFIZAH: We’re on the starting ground right now, and chose to begin by experimenting with our own dishes and drinks.
WANA: Yes, since May 1st we’ve been trying out new menus every week, so our customers get variety and we get constant feedback.
AFIZAH: The best part of the team is that everybody is trying to come up with ideas. We’ve been trying these out with our customers, getting good reviews, and bad reviews which is also good, so we can improve. It’s been a good challenge!
So when the first MSME comes in, the team will be ready. What happens after a season?
AFIZAH: The idea is they should feel ready enough to launch a business, if they want to. Or they can come back to use our space again. Here they have infrastructure ready to go, and they get exposure. Also, if they want, they can use this space to teach adults or kids how to cook.
Sounds delicious! Last question: what does progressive mean to you?
AFIZAH: It’s being constantly motivated, inspired and pushing yourself to limits so you create new boundaries.
WANA: For me it’s stepping out of the comfort zone and accepting new challenges in life.