May 27, 2021

Paving A Brighter Economic Future Across Brunei

For the last six years, Fisha Rashid - an alumna of the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) program and founder of the Big BWN Project -- has been raising the bar for entrepreneurs and young professionals across Brunei. This year, in honor of Fisha’s voluntary efforts supporting business growth and community development, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II recognized Fisha as the 173rd Commonwealth Points of Light.

Fisha’s project started with an urge to help young leaders and entrepreneurs realize their own potential. Fisha said she realized that there was a “a lack of role models, low self-confidence, a lack of technical expertise, and limited access to appropriate networking and advisors” across the region. She and her team discovered a critical niche to fill – to encourage those with business ideas to take the leap and follow their passions. 

Her platform has empowered young professionals to ultimately become leaders within their communities by running and managing their own businesses. 

But the Big BWN Project doesn’t stop there. Fisha’s team has also made it a priority to implement these initiatives within local communities and to address key challenges affecting the growth of enterprises across the country, and by doing so, her team is helping to enact sustainable change to the business landscape across the country,

While Fisha is helping others to expand their skill sets and build up their confidence, she attributes much of her own professional success to her YSEALI Fellowship.

“I believe the exchange enhanced my knowledge and accelerated my professional development – especially my people skills, my critical thinking skills, and problem solving skills, which have been beneficial for my role as the link between the community and the locals,” Fisha says. 

In addition to the skills she gained throughout her exchange, Fisha notes that her fellowship opened her eyes to the impact small businesses can have – particularly by learning about the Arkansan Regional Innovation Hub, where many of the programs there inspired her to run and develop her own center in a water village in Brunei. The experience also provided access to a vast network of fellow exchange alumni she could meet and learn from – and, from whose advice she gradually refined and expanded upon to start the Big BWN Project. 

Fisha believes that local youth are the catalysts to providing significant economic impact to countries, and her work has shown first-hand the importance of supporting these youth to advance national growth and prosperity. Since 2015, the project has successfully supported more than 300 projects and community impact initiatives by bolstering access to business resources and helping youth seek out business opportunities and mentors. Fisha explains that this mission is ever-important to strengthen the resiliency of the country and to combat a growing dependency on government subsidies, as well as an increasing unemployment rate. 

Congratulations, Fisha!

You can learn more aboout Fisha’s commitment to doing more for her people and country on the Big BWN Project website. 

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