Entrepreneurship has long been lauded as a solution to economic marginalization – a way to get disenfranchised young people in particular into the economy. There are not enough jobs available, so it stands to reason that young people must make their own. But the reality is it is easier said than done, because teaching someone the techniques of running a business is not enough to create an entrepreneur or a work ready graduate for that matter. The challenge therefore is to find a way to teach entrepreneurship that also positively transforms the individual involved. And this is where NEA comes in.
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 of 2035. Subsequently, the Entrepreneurship Village was established to carry out programmes that support the NEA, spearheaded by University Brunei Darussalam initiatives to promote entrepreneurship among students and entrepreneurial culture towards a more responsible and inclusive globalization.
Entrepreneurship Village, established in April 2014, is a community incubation program run by the head of Higher Education and Community, Adna Shatriremie Hj A. Abd. Rahman, and members and staffs of UBD. An initiative to develop local businesses that targets the K12 students, institutes of higher learning and members of the community, in line with the country’s vision of Wawasan 2035. This program is to build a community of Bruneian entrepreneurs who share the motivation and mindset to succeed, and provides a platform to equip them with technical know-how, and at the same time gives the required guidance and network to actualize their ideas. Focusing on developing individuals with the right entrepreneurial mindsets to allow them to become more self-reliant and self-sustainable, thereby creating a society of entrepreneurial thinkers. Entrepreneurship Village is also a part of the UBD Incubation Programme that students undergo through on their 3rd year of studying in the GenNext programmes, helps students to develop business idea, to encourage and motivate the existing student entrepreneurs in pursuing their goals, and to become successful entreprenurs. Students are offered the opportunity to enroll on an entrepreneurship program involving curricular development, courses and workshops designed to help explore skills and ideas.
Entrepreneurship is one of the most important input in the economic development of a country and becoming an entrepreneur can be a highly rewarding experience. Other than Entrepreneurship Village, there are other platforms that help individual ambitions and more often than not, collaborated with Entrepreneurship Village. These are:-
DARe (Darussalam enterprise) is a statutory body with the aim to nurture and support local enterprises from start-up to Growth. DARe works closely with ministries, government and non-government agencies locally and abroad to help foster growth of business enterprises and thus increase GDP contribution. Through DARe, a common and unified approach will be taken to direct, support and encourage growth of local enterprises under a single body represented ad driven by the private sector. All enterprises under DARe will be channeled into a funnel which will initially start with “High Volume” type of activities and schemes. By the end of the funnel, DARe will have more specialized and focused schemes tailored to take local enterprises globally and thus will bring a significant contribution to the GDP of Brunei.
Meanwhile the iCentre, was established to develop entrepreneurship, technology and innovation based startups through an incubator program. Creating technological and innovation ecosystem that supports the development of startup companies geared towards nation building.
Young Entreprenuers Association Brunei (YEAB), provides members with an opportunity to learn from each other’s experience and take advantage of peer membership as they grow their business. Their activities include community growth, networking, forums and discussions, collaboration, business development and youth development.
Whereas LiveWIRE Brunei, a Brunei Shell Sponsored community programme created for the purpose of increasing the interest of the young especially those who are unemployed, through training, mentoring and encouraging them to venture into the world of business and become the future entrepreneurs. Their aim is to inspire and develop the enterprising spirit among young Bruneians. In order to achieve their aims, they provide services such as;
(1) Bright Ideas Workshop, a programme to raise awareness of enterprise as a possible career option and to help young people to develop their business ideas (2) Become a Successful Owner Manager (BSOM), provides young people with the skills to start up and manage a successful business, (3) Business Awards, to recognize and reward outstanding entrepreneurs, (4) Leadership Camp, enabling participants to develop business leadership skills, (5) Business Network, providing invaluable opportunity to network with people who can can give advice, expertise and knowledge to help young people to develop their business, (6) Business Plan Series, to facilitates the production of robust, viable business plans, (7) Forum and Dialogues, opportunities to benefit from the knowledge and expertise of successful and established entrepreneurs, (8) SME Weekend Promotion, provides invaluable promotional opportunities for young businesses, (9) Train the Trainer Course, increases the supply of people who can deliver high quality enterprise training, and finally (10) Brunei Entrepreneurship Education Schemes (BEES), that provides enterprise training to secondary school students as part of the National Curriculum Development.
Findings & Discussions
By definition, an entrepreneur is someone with a vision, as well as the knowledge, skills and attitude to help achieve it. However, some of the entrepreneurs lacks the important tools to be really successful and in need of something to assist them. And this is where Entrepreneurship Village plays an important role. To this date, Entrepreneurship Village has contributed a lot into the local society. Dating back from the year they were first established, Entrepreneurship has come up with many workshops and events. By doing so, enabling the local entrepreneurs to learn, develop, and showcasing their products or business. In the first year of their establishment, in a collaboration with BSP, Entrepreneurship Village sends 12 local entrepreneurs to undergo intensive business programme with the aim to introduce new ways of thinking and build communities of entrepreneurs who will support one another with ideas, advice and inspiration as well as contributing expertise and character required to be most successful.
Within the same year, Entrepreneurship Village also launched a “Success Weekends” – a fun and engaging short workshops that help Year 9 to Year 12 students to be more entrepreneurial in their lives using a variety of games and other learning activities to introduce the entrepreneurial mindset and some of the skills that it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. In addition to helping students, Success Weekends also involves teachers to transfer knowledge about the entrepreneurial mindset to progressive teachers who wish to be more entrepreneurial with their teaching and promote creativity, problem solving and more effective communications in their schools and classrooms. By involving teachers, this enabled the programme to share entrepreneurship beyond Entrepreneurship Village and UBD.
Entrepreneurship Village also responsible in creating new start-ups every year for UBD students, particularly those taking incubation programmes by providing valuable lessons, training and improving their skill set. Not only that, Entrepreneurship Village creates events for the incubatees to showcase their businesses in a hope to provide platform to aid these newly-founded ventures reach out their target markets and send the message that the students are heading towards self-sustainablity before graduation through entrepreneurship. Take the Incubation Festival event earlier this year as example, 70 entrepreneurs joined the festivals to showcase their business and products as to promote and bring awareness. The entrepreneurship showcased exhibited various businesses and ideas that were a result of collaboration with UBD School of Business and Economics (UBDSBE), UBD’s Centre of Lifelong Learning (C3L) and the University Incubation Programme. This event supports the notion as for the first time, all entrepreneurial efforts, both pragmatic and theory-based are gathered under one main event, bringing together ideas and businesses consisting of app development, videography, logistic service, retail and fashion, food and beverages, as well as hospitality and services.
With the signing of Memorandum of Understanding for the Second Chapter of the Brunei Entrepreneurship Education Schemes (BEES) programmes between Ministry of Education, Brunei Shell Petroleum and University of Brunei Darussalam, Entrepreneurship Village has been very focused in terms of providing training to the students and in terms of expanding the entrepreneurial mindset. Entrepreneurship Village also collaborated with other entrepreneurship organisation such as DARe, iCentre, YEAB and LiveWIRE Brunei to further encourage and create awareness among the young Bruneians and promote an entrepreneurial mindset among them.
Recently, His Royal Highness Prince Doctor Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah ibni Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office consented to officially launch Convo Festival of University of Brunei Darussalam held on the 4th September 2017, in conjunction with the 29th Convocation Ceremony of University of Brunei Darussalam. The exhibition showcases thirteen innovative and creative projects by the students and alumni of UBD. The displays present the youth’s ideas and their involvement in various fields and industries as well as their spirit in bringing innovations to the nation and in shaping its future, reflecting the convo festival’s theme of “Youths are the Catalyst of Transformation for a Successful Future”.
Entrepreneurship Village has since contributed to the local community a lot, moreover with the high rate of unemployment in Brunei, giving chances to the people to start their own business and encouraging them to change their mindset to stop relying so much on the government for jobs and financial support, and instead set their sights on becoming entrepreneurs. Take BruVera as an inspiration, a product from Entrepreneurship Village, founded by two UBD students, is a local online destination that lets users or customer’s access, view and buys fashion, beauty and lifestyle products with their mission to diversify Brunei’s exports through e-commerce. This in turn would not only be beneficial to them, but also to the country’s economic.