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Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) has taken great strides towards entrepreneurship education through relevant modules, programmes and infrastructure that is aimed at producing innovative graduates who will fit into a new diversified economy.

Programmes such as the Entrepreneurship major recently introduced as part of the Bachelor of Business degree under the UBD School of Business and Economics (UBD SBE) equips students with the key skills in entrepreneurship, innovation management, entrepreneurial finance, starting up new ventures, venture growth strategies, and the key skills needed to be self-employed or for taking up employment as entrepreneurial or innovation managers within larger private or public sector organisations. This will improve the career prospects of the students as innovative entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial managers, acquiring skills that will enable them to move from the idea generation stage to fully creating businesses and innovation projects based on strong understanding of starting, financing, marketing, managing and operating successful businesses.

The university's emphasis on developing an entrepreneurial mindset allows students to expand into other businesses, utilising the skills and knowledge gained from the multidisciplinary GenNEXT platform to develop new ideas based on industry feedback and stakeholders. The goal is not to specifically produce business owners but rather on entrepreneurship education and inculcating the entrepreneurial mindset, including social entrepreneurship, which will promote greater independence and improve employability. The multidisciplinary approach allows students from other faculties to also benefit from the skills and knowledge available through entrepreneurship modules.

In addition to the relevant modules, opportunities to explore entrepreneurship are also available through UBD's Discovery Year under its GenNEXT curriculum. Taking on the option to undergo incubation in their third year of studies, students go through ideation, prototyping and validation processes as incubatees. In 2018 alone, a total of 35 incubatees were trained, leading to 16 start-ups. From 2014 to early 2019, 317 incubatees have been trained. Some of these students have successfully materialised their dreams by opening their own businesses and companies right after their semester ended and some upon graduation. The approach adopted for the incubation training are mostly centred on personal development and mindset skills for employability.

Finding solutions to real problems from stakeholders, incubates develop their ideas into a legitimate business and eventually start creating jobs, hiring people to expand their businesses. In addition to the potential of starting up their own businesses, students develop other valuable skills such as leadership and efficiency which are applicable even as an employee.

Nur Diyana Nasriah Suhaili was a student in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS), majoring in Geography and Development before deciding to go into Business Administration. Having coming from a family of business owners, she was poised to follow in their footsteps. The experience with incubation in UBD and Entrepreneurship Village (EV) has not only developed her business capabilities but it also planted a growing interest in social enterprise. She shared that through the sessions, there was more to it than just learning how to start and run a business. Along the way, she has developed resourcefulness, leadership as well as communication and negotiation skills among other valuable skills. Using those sharpened skills, she also has been actively engaged in youth empowerment programmes both locally and internationally. Ultimately, she desires to continue to empower other youths on how they can also  have the courage and confidence to achieve their goals. With a focus on her passion, she points out the importance of investing knowledge in oneself.

While the acquisition knowledge is important, UBD places an emphasis on experiential learning. The inaugural Summer Work Experience Programme (SWEP) capitalises on students’ skills and knowledge across disciplines especially with their entrepreneurial mindset. The 10-week programme by UBD’s Centre of Networking, Employment and career Training (CoNECT) is held during summer break and allows students to opt for an internship, project collaboration or shadow employees from participating companies. To date, three companies participated in the programme; Rentokil Initial, Archipelago and BAG Networks.

UBD's high quality of teaching has ensured successful outcomes from its programmes and initiatives. This would not have been possible without the cooperation and collaboration with industries and stakeholders which also include government agencies. The support from government of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam has been paramount for students and graduates to explore opportunities to become independent and successful.

"UBD has steadily risen up the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings since it first joined in 2018 when it was ranked at 349. Alhamdulillah, I am pleased to share that UBD now joins the ranks of the world’s top 300 universities after placing 298 this year," Datin Dr Hajah Anita Binurul Zahrina Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Wijaya Dato Seri Setia Haji Awang Abdul Aziz, UBD Vice Chancellor announced.  "Firstly, I would like to thank His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam who is also our Chancellor for his vision, foresight and support towards UBD. This achievement has been made possible through the effort, dedication and hard work from UBD staff and students, as well as support from stakeholders and friends of UBD such as partner industries and other higher education institutions. It is through these close collaboration and partnerships with both public and private sectors that UBD students get the opportunity to develop valuable skills in order to become employable graduates. The development of the entrepreneurial mindset in our students especially provides wider options and greater flexibility when it comes to their future careers."

According to the latest QS World University Rankings released on 19th June 2019, UBD rose 25 places and ranking at 298 from last year's 323. In all the indicators which include Academic reputation, Employer Reputation, Faculty-Student Ratio, Citations Per Faculty, International Faculty, and International Students, UBD has shown marked improvements. Notably, UBD ranked 61st in the world for Faculty-Student Ratio, which is a positive indicator of the university’s teaching quality delivered by its renowned local and international academic staff. For International Faculty, UBD ranked 47th in the world, showing that UBD students have access to distinguished academic staff with international experience and expertise. These indicators point at how the university ensures the continued success of UBD’s GenNEXT programme. UBD has steadily moved up the ranks in the past three years, from 349 in 2018 and 323 in 2019. Presenting positive performance consistently over the years, it is now among the top 300 universities in the world.

 

 “Following the success of Simply Click, which was a start-up in UBD while going for Incubation during Discover Year, the opportunities to reinvest my profits allowed me to upgrade my photography and videography services to a bigger scale. From a niche market targeting university students who need professionally done videos for assignments, Ambient Production now employs additional staff to cater to a growing demand. Competition is stiff as there are also other companies that provide similar services but it’s important to have a certain style that is unique and yet appeals to the public. Instead of seeing if there is a demand, we then create it.”

Muhammad Ammar Muazzam Haji Matusof, 22, Ambient Production

Bachelor of Business (Economics)

 

“I got familiar with business from the age of 18, helping my family run a shop so it made sense to study Business Administration in UBD. While I learned essentials such as accounting and marketing there, going for Incubation was a small leap towards social enterprise. That’s where I found that the entrepreneurial mindset gained can be used to serve a higher purpose, especially helping others and the environment. Sessions outside the classroom with Entrepreneurship Village (EV) and other incubates developed other valuable skills such as resourcefulness, leadership, negotiation and even the courage to stand in front of investors to pitch ideas.”

Nur Diyana Nasriah Suhaili, 26, De Nash Enterprise

Bachelor of Business (Business Administration)

 

“From selling popcorn as a teenager, I currently run three businesses but I’m also interested to use my experience in healthcare to develop an innovative hygiene care product for patients with limited mobility. As part of a final year project on healthcare innovation, I’ve seen how translating research into innovation requires close collaboration with other faculties in UBD as well as feedback from relevant stakeholders. Entrepreneurship Village (EV) in UBD taught us that market research is a crucial element in the process of developing a product that potential clients will definitely want. It has also helped us to develop ideas into business plans and make necessary evaluations every step of the way. Alhamdulillah, we are seeing the potential for this idea to take physical form and there is already interest from outside Brunei.”

Ak Mohd Zulfikri Pg Haji Zulkifly, 27

Master in Health Science (Nursing)

 

“Innovative solutions need to solve a problem while providing personal experience. Facts and figures alone just won’t do. Often times it helps to focus less on the solution but raise awareness of problems that people may not realise exists. As an entrepreneur, then it is our responsibility to know our audience, know our products, and recognize its value. With a background in sensory technology and artificial intelligence, I saw the potential to also develop my programming abilities further. I will be releasing a mobile application soon that will address retaining customers for local businesses while providing an eco-friendly alternative to loyalty/membership cards. The process up to this point has required a multidisciplinary team and entrepreneurship education, which is available in UBD through its programmes, modules and Incubation during Discovery Year especially with support from the office of the Assistant Vice Chancellor of Innovation and Enterprise (OAVCIE) as well as the Entrepreneurship Village (EV).”

Reneiro Andal Virrey, 31

PhD in Systems Engineering

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