With the advent of globalization, I believe Brunei Darussalam as a whole should embrace an entrepreneurial economy if it were to achieve its national vision of 2035. An entrepreneurial economy is defined as a government and nation that puts value in innovation, entrepreneurship and the willingness to compete. 

In this article I will lay out points backed up with examples from other countries as to why Brunei Darussalam should do just that.

The entrepreneurial economy should start with the government sector. Since over 70% of the national workforce comes from there, I do hope that Brunei should start seeing in implementing some drastic measures towards developing the people’s mindset on being more of an entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur it is part of their characteristic to be innovative.

Innovation does not lie in technology such as computers or creating websites only. Innovation is about making something better. Its about finding new and improved way of doing things. The government systems needs innovators and fast, if it was to achieve its vision of 2035. From what I sense still is that some of the systems are very slow and inefficient compared to other countries. This inefficiency can lose us a lot of business and opportunities flying right out of the window.

For example the business registration case. In Brunei one has to wait over 6 months to get a business license; permit; certificate etc. Over that period of time one has to pay the rent for 6 months without any business activity. That is cash burning. This can demotivate other entrepreneurs in operating up a business here.

Meanwhile in Singapore, the business registration takes less than 5 days. Imagine the businesses that Singapore’s attracting into their economy through that innovated system of business registration. It is no wonder there are over 100 Starbucks over there. I met with one of their store managers in one of their outlets and asked about their company’s future development. The manager replied that they will be opening up over 30 more stores across the country.

When will Brunei ever get a Starbucks?

The government should also stress the workforce to be competitive. Like being “Kiasu” as what the Singaporean termed it. Its part of the essence of an entrepreneurial economy. That is how we become strong, sharp and aware. More so it helps us be prepared of the future challenges from within and from without. Without competition we will only fall into complacency. Complacency leads to a “something for nothing” culture. When disaster strikes we all will be turned upside down.

To give an example.The O level exam. I find it very strange that the margin for PR or foreign students getting A’s and A Stars are relatively much more higher than the locals. I respect their competence and brilliance a lot. This drove me to study hard. As what my principle once said to me “If they can do it, why can’t I?” This drove me to compete like hell knowing that other students are also studying like crazy.

If this were to be set upon the international stage, having our workforce realizing that our foreign counterparts gets A stars in their Development then I find it quite helpful for our development too. I do not mean that Bruneians are not competitive, they are but I want Bruneians to value it more. There is a difference there. Its like working hard to win the Olympics against the other 100ish countries. That level of value.

The innovation, entrepreneurial spirit and the value of competitiveness should be set upon our national workforce in order to strive in this globalized world. Brunei Darusslam in achieving its national vision lies in the entrepreneurial workforce. With a powerful and competent workforce will follow a great economy. In this context let’s call it an entrepreneurial economy.