National Entrepreneurship Agenda: Entrepreneurship Village

Source from: Universiti Brunei Darussalam

The National Entrepreneurship Agenda (NEA) is the first entrepreneurship flagship agenda in Brunei Darussalam, under the Ministry of Education, that aims to create and support high growth entrepreneurs, drive job creation and economic growth in the country, in line with Brunei Darussalam’s Vision 2035. Subsequently, the Entrepreneurship Village was established to carry out programmes that support the NEA, spearheaded by Universiti Brunei Darussalam, UBD.

The NEA comprises three components; the first of these relates to Core Education (grades K-12), and involves programs like Success Weekends that teaches entrepreneurial skills such as strategic thinking, creative problem-solving, teamwork and effective communication. Almost 200 students in Brunei have already attended Success Weekends.

The second component of the NEA relates to higher education and involves curricular development, courses and workshops at the university level, including Entrepreneurship Village at UBD. The final component of the NEA involves public outreach programmes such as the community incubation programme.

One programme that is part and parcel of Entrepreneurship Village is called the 'Success Weekends'. The programme is specifically for the K-12 (Year 1 to Year 12) students and students of institutes of higher learning. The programme is a brief and intensive introduction to entrepreneurship for young people. As its name implies, it can be conducted over the course of a weekend, in as little as three hours. The entire programme is fun and engaging, using small team games and challenges to teach concepts like entrepreneurial mindset, the basics of effective communication, the benefits of teamwork, and how to conceive of a viable BUSINESS opportunity. Our past Success Weekends have been facilitated by a group of Bruneian entrepreneurs.

The creation of Success Weekends was in response to the growing interest in entrepreneurship combined with the need to engage the young people who represent our future. The basic idea is that since entrepreneurship is about taking smart action (rather than talking about taking smart action) there is no better way to become better at it than to practice it – first in a safe setting and then, sooner or later, in the real world. In fact, Success Weekends does not even have “teachers” to lead it; instead, we are all “facilitators of learning” who guide and encourage our students. As young people learn to build stronger entrepreneurial relationships and achieve more with less, they become capable of building enterprises that benefit the nation.

However, this particular programme is just one element of the Ministry of Education’s National Entrepreneurship Agenda, which is in the process of being quietly rolled out. This includes initiatives like Success Weekends for young people in school, as well as programmes for University students and the public.

In addition to helping students, Success Weekends also involves teachers in order to transfer knowledge about the entrepreneurial mindset to progressive teachers who wish to be more entrepreneurial with their teaching, and who desire to promote creativity, problem-solving and more effective communications in their schools and classrooms. The teachers’ involvement is hoped to provide them with new insights and perspectives of teaching and learning that will help ignite students’ interests towards their studies.

One other programme specifically designed for members of the public is the Community Incubation Programme. participants of the programme are to learn the fundamentals of successful entrepreneurship namely; business strategies, value exchange, business models and effective communication. The lessons they’ve learnt are expected to support their business’ growth and provide them with the right and optimum direction as well as also develop and maintain ethical conduct in managing their businesses. By the end of the programme, participants are celebrated in a Venture Showcase event, where they will present their business plans and ideas in front of a group of potential customers, investors as well as partners.

Some of the participants of our first Community Incubation Programme are “paying it forward” and serving as role models for young people – at Success Weekends and elsewhere in the community. In a way, this is our primary goal, to create a community of entrepreneurially minded people who inspire and support one another.

Our country is unique in its entrepreneurial potential for several reasons. First, there is a high quality of education, providing a solid foundation that keeps getting better. Second, we are capable of accelerating entrepreneurial successes – through investment in education and the rapid advancement of deserving ventures. This leads to social and economic benefits, job creation, and diversification of the economy. Last but not least, we also have exceptional role models and incredible young people. Taken together and with continued foresight and investment by the government, the future of entrepreneurship shines brightly in Brunei.

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