i-Usahawan, a youth entrepreneurship development programme that was launched during the 13th National Youth Day Celebration in 2018 has so far awarded 35 contracts in the energy sector, 19 of which worth an estimated value of $29 million have been awarded to 24 youth entrepreneurs, providing jobs to about 300 locals. 

Image: Iqbal Dato Selamat

This was shared by His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in a titah during the 16th National Youth Day Celebration which was held at the International Convention Centre, Berakas last week. 

The i-Usahawan programme supports and provides opportunities for young Bruneians to start and grow their businesses and the programme represents one of the key initiatives under the Ministry of Energy. 

Image: Iqbal Dato Selamat
Image: Iqbal Dato Selamat

“All this is clear indication, that the youth of Brunei are already able to achieve and record success at a high level,” the monarch said in relation to the programme, adding that the programme should be expanded to non-energy sectors especially the public sector. 

“Here we can understand that resilience is the key to the success of our youths, in addition to the quality of their personaly and the the attitude of not giving up when in competition,” added His Majesty. 

Image: Iqbal Dato Selamat

In an interview with The Bruneian, Romeo Wee Edong, Head of Energy In-Country Value Division of the Ministry of Energy, said that the programme is part and parcel of ME’s strategic objective of “supporting socio-economic development through energy sector spin-offs”. 

This objective is to ensure that the energy sector generates spin-offs that benefit the socio-economic growth of Brunei Darussalam, by ensuring local businesses and workers are able to access opportunities generated from the energy sector.

Image: Iqbal Dato Selamat
Image: Iqbal Dato Selamat

“The programme provides a platform for youth entrepreneurs to venture into the energy sector and the ecosystem that is created with the programme provides all the important ingredients for youths to grow their businesses into established companies that can contribute to the socio-economic development of the country,” said Romeo. 

“The programme ultimately aims to ensure sustainability of youth driven businesses and we hope to collaborate further with relevant agencies within the energy sector to give more i-Usahawan opportunities,” he added. 

Image: Iqbal Dato Selamat
Image: Iqbal Dato Selamat

Accompanying His Majesty at the event were His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office; His Royal Highness Prince ‘Abdul Malik; His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah; and His Royal Highness Prince Haji Jefri Bolkiah.

Image: Iqbal Dato Selamat

During the event a pledge was recited by a group of some 50 youths, who have been actively involved in volunteerism, also sporting achievements in various field including a youth representative representing differently-abled individuals. 

This was followed by a video presentation highlighting youths’ relentless yet integrated efforts in supporting the country’s development through multiple aspects which then proceeded with a special youth performance staged by B’Sharp Choir, comprising of 16 youths from Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD).

Image: Iqbal Dato Selamat
Image: Iqbal Dato Selamat

The event also saw His Majesty presenting the National Youth Awards 2020 and 2021 which include the Excellent Youth Award, Youth Service Award, Youth Leader Award and Outstanding Youth Project Award to eight lucky and accomplished recipients. 

His Majesty and members of the royal family then  toured the Youth Day Exhibition at the concourse area, which has been scaled down this year, showcasing the success, achievements and the impacts of Brunei youth. 

Image: Iqbal Dato Selamat

The exhibition centred on four main clusters – Digital Economy, Economic Development, Social Enterprise or Youth Movement, as well as Creative Industry and Media.

During the tour His Majesty also launched the volunteer application, Mengalinga, at the event.

The 16th National Youth Day Celebrations this year retained the same theme as in 2019 and 2020, “Future Ready Youth” which acknowledges the youth as a driver of national development. 

Image: Iqbal Dato Selamat
Image: Iqbal Dato Selamat

This article was first published on 14 August 2021 in our Weekly E-Paper issue 154

THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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