Entrepreneurship is being increasingly encouraged as a key element within the national strategy for sustaining economic progress
A survey carried out for the BBC’s Extreme World series last year found that Indonesia is the best place in the world to start a business, followed by the U.S., Canada and Australia. The conclusion was based on the results from polling more than 24,000 people across 24 countries. Interviewees were asked if creativity and innovation were highly valued in their country; whether it was difficult for budding entrepreneurs to get a new business off the ground; and if people who do take the initiative to go it alone were highly valued.
Entrepreneurship, in all its forms, is a vital catalyst in kick starting and maintaining dynamism and diversity within fast-growing economies. Bambang Suryo Sulisto, the Chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN), firmly believes in the importance of engendering an enterprising spirit: “Creating entrepreneurs is necessary because entrepreneurs create jobs. They are vital for economic development, and that is why KADIN has made nurturing entrepreneurship a primary objective.”
Whether seen as a progressive addition to Indonesia’s favorable geopolitical position, or as a means to create a sustainable economic future for all of its citizens, and investors, entrepreneurship has become central to the thinking of the country’s present and future business leaders.
“I would say
the most important
aspect is to work very closely with a reputable Indonesian partner.
this is critical for success.”
CEO of Ernst & Young Indonesia
“We have over 243 million people; 70% are under 50, 38% of that are 15-50 years old. This is an incredible phenomenon that we should exploit.”
Raja Sapta Oktohari,
Chairman of the Indonesian Young Entrepreneurs Association (HIPMI)
Many business development experts share this view, and Giuseppe Nicolosi, Overseer of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, is feeling optimistic: “A developed economy requires a minimum of 2% of the country to become entrepreneurs. In Indonesia the figure is currently at around 0.4% of the population. However, we have a large population so, in reality, that is a large number.”
The notion of entrepreneurship is not limited to sole-operating individuals, as Shinta Widjaja, of Sintesa Group and GEPI (Global Entrepreneurship Program Indonesia) reveals: “Someone in our Human Resources department does not have to just do HR work. If they hold a project, they are in charge of the whole thing ... this has really developed entrepreneurial skills; our employees can now work together with us and become an entrepreneur, or what we call an ‘intrapreneur’, within the organization.”
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Bali last July to take part in a three-day ASEAN Regional Entrepreneurship Summit (RES) under the theme: ‘Emerging Entrepreneurs: The Next Big Chapter.’
“We are seeking to nurture the spirit of entrepreneurship within all the Indonesian people so that we can become just like Singapore or Japan. Whatever you want to do, if you have this mentality, it will make the process easier,” says Raja Oktohari of the Indonesian Young Entrepreneurs Association (HIPMI). “We are specializing in empowering females. This is because we believe in them and their unique strengths and drive. In some areas of Indonesian culture, the females are more active, especially in Bali and West Sumatra. About 30% of our members are women.”
Bayu Djokosoetono, Commissioner of Indonesia’s Blue Bird Group
, adds: “The government initially did not have enough confidence that a woman could run a company in the taxi industry [in 1972]. My grandmother eventually convinced them she was capable of running a company and received a license for 25 taxis. This year, with over a 21,000-strong fleet nationwide, BB Group has established a position as the best and most reliable luxury taxi provider, expanding its business in not only the taxi industry, but also in property, manufacturing, services and more. This is a testimony to the entrepreneurial spirit driven through this family and developed further by the family members to take it to where it is today.”