The capital of the tiny nation of Brunei sitting on Borneo Island, Bundar Seri Begawan was formerly known as "Brunei Town" and has a population of about 100,700 inhabitants. The city's economy is based in furniture, textiles, handicrafts and timber plus it's a shopping haven for everything and anything. Traditional markets such as Tamu Kianggeh are where to go if you need a chicken or some fish and the night market of Pasar Malam is where you will find a quick bite of some traditional fare, such as nasi katok and ambuyat. Mosques are everywhere you look such as the Jame'Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque with its 29 golden domes and there are a few sultan tombs to check out. If you want to feast your eyes on a gold carriage then head to the Royal Regalia Building for a peek at opulence. There are numerous educational institutions from kindergarten to tertiary level with numerous technical colleges and universities. Two of the 4 national universities in the country are found in the city, so it's little wonder that coworking venues have opened up catering to its tech savvy youth.
The Brunei government is in the throes of restructuring its entrepreneurship ecosystem to create an environment where more youth can thrive and get creative. At the moment there is a lack of infrastructure and access to financing for the inventive crowd to draw upon. The changes to come about are hopefully in the areas of providing training, physical and digital infrastructure, market access and financing facilities. The government has recently launched an entrepreneurship program that is open to indigenous business owners aged 21 to 40 and who have yet to win tenders with government linked companies. It's hoped that this will lead to the youth of the country thinking differently to take advantage of the digital frontier. Another program "Peladang Muda" is aimed at the growing opportunities in agribusiness for the tech sector.
A 41-page handbook as a guide to the SME ecosystem has been launched in the hope that it will impact on its creatives and coworking spaces appearing are now giving the locals the support and space to get their minds going into over-drive.
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