| Danial Norjidi |
THE Young Entrepreneurs Association of Brunei (YEAB) aims to play a positive role in the development of Bruneian entrepreneurs and the economy.
This was highlighted during an interview with YEAB President Nurliyana Fatin binti Ariffin who spoke on the association’s recent activities and achievements.
Sharing her thoughts on what YEAB has done since she became the association’s president last year, Fatin said, “Having been a member myself since 2008, I have observed the best of YEAB from the past presidents and the legacy they left me with are big shoes to fill. YEAB will be celebrating 20th year next year and we have come to a realisation that we have to innovate to remain relevant for entrepreneurs.
“When YEAB was set up in 2000, the landscape was really different – entrepreneurship for young people was back then mostly taking over family business,” she continued. “With the changing landscape today, young people are venturing into entrepreneurship as a career path out of opportunity, necessity or ambition.”
The YEAB president affirmed that the very concept of entrepreneurship has also changed today with the rise of start-up models and the digital economy which are shaping new economic models, underpinned by the Fourth Industrial Revolution that is shaping economies globally.
She also noted that Brunei is undergoing a rapid change as the resurgence of industrial development has been seen, led by a strong calling and action for diversification leading to massive development in agriculture and retail, among others.
“So we really want to play a positive role to support our nation’s aspirations for Brunei Vision 2035 hence we are focussing our efforts at the moment towards reviewing our membership model so that we can grow our members and conduct more valuable business sessions to grow our reach, develop opportunities for entrepreneurs to reach out to internal and external networks as our end goal is to develop a community of dynamic entrepreneurs and social innovators who contribute to the development of the economy and industry.”
The YEAB held its 15th Annual General Meeting (AGM) on April 20. As Nurliyana Fatin explained, the main purpose of the AGM was to catch up with members and take stock of the progress of YEAB to date; to introduce YEAB – purpose, mission, legacy, leadership to new members; to discuss how best the association can support its members and the development of entrepreneurship in Brunei; and also to review their membership and fee structure with their members.
They also held a briefing session on Local and Foreign Workforce Ratio and Foreign Workers Levy, inviting the Labour Department to provide members the opportunity to understand and make early preparation for the changes in the labour policy.
They had Juan Sebastian Olea from e-commerce marketplace MondeB2B to share about the opportunity for members to have an online platform for exporting of products and services globally.
Asked on the outcomes of the meeting, Nurliyana Fatin shared, “Our members agreed on the need to review the fee structure, we also brainstormed about ways we could add value to our members and how we can support them. We also saw the interest from our members to the MondeB2B platform which led us to do a signing with them recently. The session with the Labour Department has been beneficial to our members as well.
“The meeting went well. We could see how YEAB is a valuable network to our members and we are now somewhat like family,” she added.
“We hope to be able to support our members to grow their businesses and become role model entrepreneurs.”
At the recent National Youth Congress 2019, the YEAB was one of the event’s strategic partners, spearheading the shaping and content of the workshop and youth resolution in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Brunei Youth Council and the Guild of Graduates, as well as providing speaker recommendations to the forum.
Prior to the Youth Congress, the YEAB facilitated a pre-congress workshop and focus group session to collect inputs from students, youth and young entrepreneurs on their thoughts to the current entrepreneurship ecosystem which helped shape the format of the workshop at the congress.
YEAB led by its Vice President Kaewen Tan facilitated the workshop on entrepreneurship together with officers from DARe (Darussalam Enterprise) and LiveWire as well as entrepreneurs from the industry – BattlePro and Esca Marine.
“We put together a diverse team to bring inclusivity into the agenda and have a diverse representation of entrepreneurs,” Nurliyana Fatin said.
Another recent achievement for YEAB was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with e-commerce marketplace MondeB2B on June 22.
Speaking on the significance of the MoU, Nurliyana Fatin said, “We aspire to see our entrepreneurs do business across borders and succeed so we when we knew about the MondeB2B platform, we thought this was a great platform for our members to reach out to the international market and validate their products and services in a less risky manner and learn how others who are trading globally are doing it.”
“A lot of the work that we have done include connecting local entrepreneurs to regional and international entrepreneurs through forums and summits as well as network introductions and we would like to see more business across borders materialise. So MondeB2B is a great platform to do so.”
The association also recently held the 1st YEAB Entrepreneurship Open Night in collaboration with Malam Minggu Pusat Belia.
On what is next for the YEAB, Nurliyana Fatin shared, “We have a lot of initiatives planned for the year before we hand over the baton to the next committee in April 2020. We are aiming to grow YEAB into a leading young entrepreneur network which supports the development and growth of entrepreneurs, enterprises and entrepreneurship.”
Upcoming activities include the 6th edition of YEAB Insight in August, taking a large delegation to the ASEAN Young Entrepreneurs Carnival in Bangkok in September, several networking sessions for members and ‘OpenChat’ sessions, among others.