Universiti Brunei Darussalam’s (UBD) latest entrepreneurial initiative, the UBD Startup Centre (USC) aims to become a platform for alumni to explore innovative ideas that can help stimulate the nation’s economy and generate employment.
Acting as an extension of UBD’s Entrepreneurship Village, the USC allows graduates to establish their own startups under the guidance and mentorship of UBD academics and USC collaborators like Darussalam Enterprise (DARe).
Speaking on the sidelines of the launch of Muappy, one of USC’s startups, UBD Vice-Chancellor acknowledged the difficulty in sustaining entrepreneurial innovation among the university students, especially once they leave.
“We found that once the students graduate, the mentoring stops and with that, so does the innovation,” said Datin Hjh Anita Binurul Zahrina Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Wijaya Dato Seri Setia Hj Abd Aziz.
In light of this, part of USC’s aim is to rekindle research projects conducted by UBD alumni and to elevate them as a means for graduates to revitalize their entrepreneurial journey.
From ideation, prototyping, market validation to commercialisation, the USC will guide startups through the essential building blocks of establishing a business, added Datin Hjh Anita.
Startups under the USC will also have access to UBD’s latest facilities and expertise, including the local varsity’s vast network of partners within the nation as well as across the globe.
The vice-chancellor further said that there are two key criteria startups must adhere to, in order to be accepted under the programme, and these criteria, reflect the demands of the sultanate in the coming years.
First and foremost being that team members must encompass different disciplines and backgrounds, highlighting the importance of a multi-disciplinary culture to achieve success.
“The second is for them to have a digital perspective that can address the demands of the fourth industrial revolution,” she said, expressing aspirations for USC startups to contribute to sultanate’s economic diversification.
The vice-chancellor went on to call for more UBD alumni with innovative ideas to join the USC programme, hoping to accommodate more startups in the near future.
“What we aspire is to have a virtuous system where the founders would find their way back to the university and innovate more.
“I think the idea is that if you don’t innovate, you’ll get left behind, but that is where we come in, we’ll help you,” she added.
Since 2014, almost 300 student startups have been established in UBD, representing about 16 per cent of graduates within the past five years.
The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN