Singapore-headquartered firm Golden Equator made its first foray into Brunei by partnering with DARe in 2018 to jumpstart the local entrepreneurship ecosystem. Through their business bootcamps, they’ve helped more than 200 startups – helping them raise over US$1 million in investment and generate more than 450 jobs locally.
We speak to them about their journey in setting up their Brunei office, and how Regus has been able to support their expansion into a new market.
Q: Tell us about Golden Equator and the work you do in Brunei.
Adam Flinter, Managing Partner of International Markets: Golden Equator is a holding group of businesses committed to creating value beyond the financial with the elements of Communities, Technology, Capital and Learning.
In Brunei, we are mainly focused in two main areas – entrepreneurship and financial literacy.
For the entrepreneurship pillar, we are most known for helping local Bruneian startups and SMEs, partnering with the Brunei government and corporates, which started in 2018.
Some examples include running entrepreneurship bootcamps and programmes. This has included working with Darussalam Enterprise (DARe) on the Accelerate programmes; helping to reskill mid-career corporate workers in programmes with Darussalam Assets; and helping SMEs with strategy development.
On the financial literacy side, not many people know that the fast-growing media title The Simple Sum is also a business of Golden Equator.
Since expanding to Brunei in 2020, the reception we’ve had from young Bruneians who are interested in understanding how to budget, save and invest has been phenomenal.
It’s very pleasing to hear people in Brunei say “Oh, I follow you guys on IG and I love what you do there!” whenever we mention The Simple Sum in meetings.
Brunei is a key market for us, with our strong on-the-ground team spearheaded by local Bruneian Angie Ang, and we’re looking to grow the team to better expand our offerings.
Q: How has Regus been able to help you on your business journey?
Angie Ang, Training Associate: When we first moved into the Regus, it wasn’t a difficult decision. It has a good location for our purposes – quite close to most of our clients. The cost is reasonable, and the facilities are good. We are able to have our own private offices, but there are also places for us to hold meetings and private pods for when we need to knuckle down and focus for a few hours.
Also, during the COVID-19 lockdown, Regus has also been helpful in ensuring that our local team are well informed of the regulations and attended to any messages that our clients have sent including letters and parcels.
We also feel a sense of belonging and have a good relationship with the team at Regus who has frequently assisted us with business admin and operations.
Q: What have been the main challenges and opportunities to your business in 2021?
Angie Ang: On the entrepreneurship front, our work in Brunei involves working closely with clients, startups and SMEs – whether it is delivering entrepreneurship bootcamps or helping businesses through consultancy and expansion advice – so the pandemic has been a big challenge for us.
We’ve had to adapt to delivering a lot of projects virtually – getting used to Zoom classes, virtual consultation sessions and less face time with the startups that we work with.
On the Financial Literary front, there’s a great opportunity for us to really grow the audience, channels and formats in which we deliver engaging personal finance content that appeals to the younger generation Bruneian. This will help increase their knowledge and understanding of personal finance including in saving, budgeting, and investing.
Q: What plans does Golden Equator have in store for 2022?
Adam Flinter: For personal finance, our focus will be to grow The Simple Sum Brunei and continue the search for the right hires to drive it forward. So, if anyone knows stellar content specialists who understand personal finance, please get in touch with Angie!
For entrepreneurship, our focus will be to deepen our involvement in the Brunei entrepreneurship ecosystem. Golden Equator’s expansion into Brunei marked our commitment to the development of Brunei’s startup ecosystem.
Golden Equator has been in the Brunei market since 2018; we are now well established and at the stage of our life where we are very much a Brunei business, with a local entity that is entirely staffed by Bruneians. So, in the medium and long term, we would like to go beyond running entrepreneurship bootcamps to add more value to the country in things that we do to create more impact and last partnerships.
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