Established in 2018, the i-Usahawan programme supports young Bruneian entrepreneurs to start, own and grow their own business in securing their first contract with various government as well as government-linked companies and statutory bodies.
The i-Usahawan programme was initiated by the Ministry of Energy, and its activities in the energy sector continue to be led by the ministry to support the country’s efforts to achieving the Brunei Vision 2035 goal of improving the economy, and developing local capabilities by prioritising local business participation in the energy sector.
As part of the programme, participants undergo SME training before taking part in the tender. The training is conducted by the Energy Business Academy, managed by Brunei Shell Joint Venture (BSJV) Companies or Industry Business Academy under terms of reference of DARe (Darussalam Enterprise).
It features several training modules, including procurement process, human resource management, government tender process, and HSSE management. Participants are also encouraged to register and attend various entrepreneurship programmes offered by DARe such as Micro Bootcamp and Start-Up Bootcamp. Since its inception, a total of 35 contracts have been identified, with 19 i-Usahawan contracts awarded at an estimated value of BND29 million, resulting in the employment of 296 locals. At the time of writing, three i-Usahawan entrepreneurs have successfully secured contracts outside the programme.
Over the years, the i-Usahawan programme has continued to support the national effort to develop youth-led startups and entrepreneurs as the main catalyst of economic growth, by providing government-led market interventions in the energy sector through the provision of business contracts and capacity-building initiatives.
This includes training activities that seek to accelerate youth entrepreneurs’ business potential in four major areas of startup development – operational capacity building for a better understanding of the industry; management capacity building in business management; financial management capacity building; and personal capacity building; that has resulted in the increase in participants’ expertise and skills.
The Ministry of Energy is also closely collaborating with energy operators in the i-Usahawan ecosystem that help to not only provide work opportunities but also the relevant training necessary to carry out the work.
During the 16th National Youth Day celebration, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin highlighted that the success of these youth demonstrated their capability to contribute to the country’s development as well as diversify the economy. The i-Usahawan programme does not merely focus on the oil and gas industry, but also other areas in public and private sectors. It is projected that around 200 youth will be involved in the programme in the next three years.
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