Innovative initiative promotes Brunei entrepreneurs

LAKSAMANA College of Business (LCB) yesterday achieved yet another milestone with the launch of the ‘LCB Incuvation Centre’, a workspace for aspiring entrepreneurs and new start-ups to get their business dreams off the ground.

The launch of the business incubator, a collaborative initiative between LCB and MINI Brunei (QAF Auto Sdn Bhd), was officiated by British High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam Richard Lindsay.

DARe (Darussalam Enterprise) CEO Javed Ahmad, QAF Group CEO Albert Lau, Laksamana College of Business Director Haji Awang Suhaimei bin Haji Besar, and officials from the college were present.

“Britain is a nation of entrepreneurs. Their products, services, technology, innovation and ideas have given the world some of its most iconic brands,” said British High Commissioner Lindsay of the incubator in his remarks.

“Take for example Sir Richard Branson, the CEO of the Virgin Group; Sir Paul Smith, Britain’s foremost designer; and Sir James Dyson, a phenomenal engineer and inventor of innovative creations – Dyson Ball vacuum cleaners.”

QAF Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Albert Lau, Chief Operating Officer of Laksamana College of Business Sivarajah Subramaniam, British High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam Richard Lindsay, Director of Laksamana College of Business Haji Awang Suhaimei bin Haji Besar and DARe (Darussalam Enterprise) CEO Javed Ahmad in a group photo in front of the ‘LCB Incuvation Centre’. – JAMES KON

The High Commissioner highlighted that every country “needs entrepreneurs, people who think for themselves, creative people bursting with energy and ideas”, the sort of people “who don’t ask, ‘What can you do for me’, but go out to create [things] for themselves”.

Lindsay added that these are the people who see markets, establish companies, and create jobs.

“These people create wealth. They create opportunities. They deliver growth. So this is exactly what is needed to deliver Brunei Vision 2035,” he said.

Lindsay outlined three ingredients that entrepreneurs need to succeed in any environment: A good business environment; access to finance; and a society that is forward-looking, hardworking, encourages creativity and celebrates and learns from business experience.

He commended LCB’s efforts in bringing the best of British higher education to Brunei and in contributing directly to Brunei Vision 2035.

“The initiative today takes this further and develops a new platform for aspiring and innovative start-ups to make their dreams materialise,” he said.

“It is very fitting that this Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship is a partnership between LCB, which represents some of the best in British education in Brunei, and QAF MINI, which represents some of the most significant and iconic British car designs in history.”

LCB’s Chief Operating Officer Sivarajah Subramaniam added his thoughts on the new incubator, “‘The LCB Incuvation Centre’ is an innovative initiative to promote entrepreneurs in Brunei and the region.

“The Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE) is a regional technology and business incubator based at LCB, Brunei. This fresh term ‘Incuvation’ is a combination of incubation and innovation.

“The ‘LCB Incuvation Centre’ will focus on providing mentoring, incubation, advisory and comprehensive business training programmes to entrepreneurs and early-stage start-ups across four verticals: ICT, Eco-tourism, Business and Social Impact.”

Retracing the work gone into realising the incubator, he said, “It has been a long journey to get to this opening ceremony, which was made possible thanks to the shared vision of the partners involved and their great commitment to realise that vision.

“We share the same vision with QAF MINI in providing aspiring entrepreneurs the best support in line with 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’s vision of creating more entrepreneurs and reducing the number of unemployed youth in Brunei.

“The incubation centre is an important contribution to the sustainable growth of the country. Its business model and services are tailored to local needs and realities.”

“The centre supports individuals and organisations in their entrepreneurial quests through the provision of a range of activities and services. It provides the infrastructure (workstations, state-of-the-art meeting rooms, Internet access), business approaches and go-to-market strategies, match-making with venture capitalists/angel investors, intellectual property (IP) consultative services, a legal advisory service, mentoring of leadership and management, as well as links to strategic partners and comprehensive business training programmes,” Subramaniam said.

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