I’ve known Eyon for over a year now, so the warmth of Eco Ponies Garden and the welcoming nature of Eyon are all too familiar. So here I am, stepping foot for the hundredth time to the luscious greeneries of Kampong Lamunin, nestled in the heart of Tutong to talk to Eyon, amongst the throngs of visitors in Eco Ponies Garden.
Eyon, a native of Lamunin has jump started her project of building Eco Ponies Garden in her backyard back in 2014, has long seen it grow into a community hub for locals to sell their produce, to showcase and share their knowledge on their culture and tradition; as well as to host tourists to experience the beautiful nature of Brunei.
1. How do you balance purpose while maintaining profitability?
We have conducted several educational programs for students and corporates, inclusive of food; charging the package about $10-$15 per pax. After, our service to the community expanded to organising a lot of community farmer’s market.
So because of that, they always share their knowledge and resources with us, like their produce, which we use in the kitchen.
And because we want to promote Eco Ponies as a garden that is different from others, with our private and public events and our farmers’ market; we want to create that awareness by also organising kind of like ‘Air BnB’ for visitors to experience being in nature. They even sometimes come here to help grow the garden. Many have the expertise to suggest changes for the garden to make it more sustainable and more visitor-friendly.
We’re very blessed because most of our overnight stayers are always looking ways to create positive impact wherever they go.
2. What impact have you seen so far with Eco Ponies Garden?
The community is becoming more and more open, and more approachable. They told me they feel inspired with all the Eco Ponies projects that are focused on getting more exposure for the community. One vendor shared that these projects made a good impact to her existing business of selling produce.
3. What advice would you give to folks who are considering a path towards running social enterprises?
There are few things I’d wish to impart for my fellow business owners:
1. Follow your heart, as I like to say “Do by your heart with your heart”
2. Think outside the box
3. Always believe in sharing with people, may it be your knowledge or experience.
4. Always believe that you’re creating positive impact not just for yourself but also for the people around you and towards the future.