A youth entrepreneurship steering committee led by the government has been set up to support young Bruneians to start and grow their own businesses, said His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.
In his address on Brunei’s 14th National Youth Day celebrations at ICC yesterday, His Majesty said the committee would monitor and implement initiatives to facilitate the growth of youth-lead businesses from the starting up stage to being competitive internationally.
“We do not want to just be observers; we want to reach competitiveness in the global arena,” he said. “Being competitive does not come from being empty-handed, but from having knowledge, experience and skills (competency).”
The steering committee, chaired by the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports and deputised by the Deputy Minister of Energy, Manpower and Industry, will oversee Brunei’s youth entrepreneurship ecosystem (YEE), which houses all the national business development initiatives available to Bruneians.
YEE, launched at last year’s youth day, currently covers five areas: capacity building or training and support services, financing, infrastructure and facilities, market access and opportunities.
New YEE initiatives include co-matching grants of up to $20,000, the Brunei Mentors for Entrepreneurship Network, the standards consultancy programme to help business get international certification and the provision of ready-built factories for youth to set up manufacturing businesses.
His Majesty said that 60 contracts have been reserved for youth, 10 which have been awarded. A total of 200 contracts will be awarded by 2021 under the iUsahawan initiative, which offers wholly Bruneian owned businesses the chance to earn their first government or government-linked company contract.
His Majesty also praised the youth’s recent push to take on agriculture and creative industries and encouraged them to develop their pursuits further by leveraging the use of technology.
This year’s National Youth Day celebrations were themed “Future Ready Youth” with a focus on young Bruneians delving into technology and entrepreneurship. 88 youth-led businesses and organizations were showcased in four clusters of sustainable development, social entrepreneurship, creative economy and volunteerism.
Managing Director of Wira Group Hjh Noor Hjh Noor Monasalieana @ Suzie Hj Mohd Salleh won the Excellent Youth Award for her role in spearheading Malam Minggu Pusat Belia, a weekend initiative at the Youth Centre in the capital where youth vendors set up shop and put on creative performances.
Ride-hailing platform Dart won the Oustanding Youth Project Award by providing employment to its 150 drivers, the majority who are local youth. The Youth Leader Award went to Society for Community Outreach & Training (SCOT) President and Ministry of Education officer Pg Salimatul Sa’ada Pg Mohd Salleh who is pivoting the NGO towards a social enterprise model.
Meanwhile the Youth Service Award was presented to the founder of Syababul Iman and UNISSA lecturer Dr. Hjh Ummi Fa’izah Hj Abd Rahman. The Sengkuong-based mosque club, set up seven years ago, has been a pioneer in organizing religious self-development programmes for youth.
Watch: Brunei celebrates 14th National Youth Day