Bandar Seri Begawan - Six Bruneian entrepreneurs attended the inaugural Entrepreneurs' Summit in Mumbai, India from December 13 to 15.
The event was organised by an association called the 'Young Indians (YI)', who are the youth wing of the Confederation of the Indian Industry (CII) for Commonwealth Asia Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs (CAAYE).
According to a press release from the Young Entrepreneurs Association of Brunei (YEAB), some 200 entrepreneurs from more than 10 nations including Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Nepal were brought together in a unique format that encouraged networking and allowed entrepreneurs to explore B2B opportunities within the region.
Held over three days, the summit also included field visits to six diverse sectors in India such as the Mahindra Manufacturing Plant, Dharavi Slums for micro-entrepreneurship and Mumbai Dabbawallas for supply chain aside from a full day summit on Dec 15.
Organised on the sidelines of the summit was a leadership assembly in which various country representatives converged to discuss the alliance progress. Also discussed was the finalisation of the CAAYE Young Entrepreneurs' Summit communiqué to be presented and endorsed by member governments on improving youth entrepreneurship ecosystem across the eight Commonwealth-Asia countries.
The communiqué was handed over to Ms Katherine Ellis, Director-Youth Affairs of the Commonwealth Secretariat during the summit.
Quoted in the press release was Dr Rahul Mircharidani, the Founder and President of CAAYE, who said, "Through this summit our aim was to improve the youth entrepreneurship ecosystem.
"We have confidence that this summit has paved the way to a better road for business and breaking trade barriers in the Asian Commonwealth. I'm proud to see the sheer participation in numbers and the enthusiasm that these entrepreneurs have displayed."
Brunei's participants included entrepreneurs from the YEAB and entrepreneur graduates of the Youth Development Centre at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.
The summit's final day saw various sessions with distinguished speakers and stalwarts from the industry, discussing topics that imbibe the values of entrepreneurship.
Among the sessions was one on "Building an Entrepreneur Eco-system Access to Finance, Infrastructure, Regulations & Taxes", a session on "Education & Skills Development Entrepreneurship as a Career and a Business Opportunity", and a third on "Breaking Trade Barriers Trading Blocs, Reform in import policies - Shift from protecting 'producers' to benefiting 'consumers'.
There was also a fourth session on funding young entrepreneurs, and a fifth on doing business in India. The YEAB President Ms Hafimi Abdul Haadi @ Frances Lo attended the summit and participated as a speaker at the session on Breaking Trade Barriers.
Edwin Khan, the General Manager of KMST Sdn Bhd was one of the attendees from Brunei, and said, "It was an exceptionally interesting and enlightening summit.
"The gathering oflike-minded individuals to approach and discuss various aspects of entrepreneurship especially in an emerging economy like India was highly fruitful. The mentoring advice from successful market leaders and the colourful friendships developed were an invaluable experience.
"The summit was a great platform that brought together entrepreneurs from diverse regions and backgrounds. We met successful entrepreneurs as young as 21 to more seasoned entrepreneurs aged 40 from various industries and sectors."
Fatin Ariffin, Brunei Country Representative to CAAYE and head of the Brunei delegation (and Secretary of the YEAB), described the summit as having been an excellent networking and learning opportunity, particularly for the Brunei delegates.
She also noted that it was an amazing opportunity to witness first hand India's thriving economy.
"India is one of the most entrepreneurial economies in the world and Mumbai is a melting pot of various sectors of entrepreneurship so there was a lot of learning for us," she said. "We had B2B meetings with all the different delegates such as Malaysia, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and explored potential opportunities with different delegates.
"We spoke to successful entrepreneurs about their journey. I think the whole experience was just positively overwhelming. We are already looking forward to the 2013 Entrepreneurs Summit and hope to bring a larger delegation so that more Bruneians would benefit from this exposure," she highlighted.
In the press release, the YEAB also took the opportunity to thank the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports for providing opportunities to young entrepreneurs to be part of this auspicious summit.
--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin