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A Defining Moment To Invest in Women's Entrepreneurship

Women entrepreneurs are not just chasing their dreams; they are significant contributors to a nation’s economic well-being. Women are critical in this landscape, accounting for over 64.5% of MSME ownership or management. This dominance presents a compelling opportunity: investing in women entrepreneurship in Indonesia isn’t just about social good; it is a strategic economic imperative.

Research by Investing in Women, an Asian Development Bank initiative, underscores the positive correlation between women’s entrepreneurial participation and economic growth. Women who lead businesses tend to reinvest more profits into their families and communities, fostering broader development. Additionally, women-led ventures often create more jobs, particularly for other women, contributing to a more inclusive workforce.

A World Bank study estimates that if female-owned businesses in Indonesia achieved revenue parity with male-owned firms, the country’s economy could unlock an additional US$428 million annually. Moreover, increasing the female labor force participation rate to 58%, a goal outlined in Indonesia’s G20 commitment could translate to a 0.7% GDP growth and a staggering US$62 billion boost to the economy. These figures paint a clear picture fighting the stereotypes: women entrepreneurs are powerful drivers of economic progress.

Impacts Beyond the Barriers

Despite their significant presence, Indonesian women entrepreneurs face unique challenges when accessing funding. Traditional financial institutions often perceive them as high-risk borrowers due to factors like limited business collateral or a lack of formal economic history. Additionally, unconscious bias and a persistent cultural undercurrent that views business leadership as a male domain can further hinder access to capital.

Furthermore, women entrepreneurs often operate in the food and beverage or fashion sectors. With the sectors having grown significantly in recent years (according to the Food and Beverage Entrepreneurs Association, they contributed 38.61% to the GDP of Q1 2023), this shows solid proof that women entrepreneurs’ contribution to business is not just about chasing dreams and playing games.

Indonesian women entrepreneurs demonstrate remarkable tenacity and resourcefulness. They are adept at innovation, often finding creative solutions to overcome limitations. For instance, many leverage technology platforms effectively to reach broader markets and build brand awareness.

They are also renowned for their resilience. Faced with adversity, they exhibit a strong work ethic and the ability to adapt to changing market conditions. This grit is a valuable asset in a dynamic economic environment.

Finally, women entrepreneurs excel at managing resources efficiently. Operating with limited capital often forces them to be more resourceful and cost-conscious. This translates into leaner business models and a focus on maximizing return on investment.


The Bridge To Collaborative Supports

While financial resources are undeniably crucial, investment in women’s entrepreneurship extends beyond capital injection. Building a supportive ecosystem that fosters innovation, knowledge sharing, and access to networks is equally essential for their long-term success and survival. A supportive ecosystem is crucial to unlock the full potential and opportunity for women entrepreneurs in Indonesia. Here, business incubators, accelerators, and networking platforms play a vital role.

Incubators provide women entrepreneurs access to shared workspaces, mentorship opportunities, and crucial business development skills like financial literacy and marketing strategies. On the other hand, Accelerators offer intensive programs to help women-led businesses scale rapidly, often connecting them with angel investors or venture capital firms. Giving access to resources to help women entrepreneurs accelerate their business ideas and test their product-market fit.

Networking platforms allow women entrepreneurs to connect more extensively with potential investors, venture capitalists, and established players in the industry. This can open doors for funding, partnerships, and market access, fostering a sense of community and belonging and addressing the isolation that some women entrepreneurs may experience.

Investing in Indonesia’s women’s entrepreneurship requires collaborative efforts from various stakeholders. SheHacks and the InnovateHer Academy programs are prime examples of comprehensive ecosystem-building initiatives for women entrepreneurs.

As a women-in-tech accelerator program that combines the strengths of both an accelerator and a networking platform, Indosat Ooredoo Hutchison’s collaboration with KUMPUL.ID through SheHacks equips female founders in the technology sector with the tools and resources necessary to scale their businesses.

KUMPUL.ID’s collaboration with FWD Insurance through InnovateHer Academy, on the other hand, nurtured startup female founders to become future solid founders who would contribute to economic growth and human resources development through technology utilization.

Both programs provide broad access to mentorship from industry leaders, venture capitalists, and successful women entrepreneurs to support their entrepreneurial journey.

SheHacks 2023 Innovate - Magelang (July 2023)

Celebrating successful women entrepreneurs and promoting role models can inspire future generations and dismantle unconscious biases hindering women’s participation in business. By investing in their potential, providing access to resources, and fostering a supportive ecosystem, we can unlock a powerful engine of inclusive growth. When women thrive, economies flourish, and entire communities benefit. The time to invest in Indonesia’s women entrepreneurs is now. Be part of a larger impact on the women’s entrepreneurship ecosystem with KUMPUL.ID.

by Adhitya Putra

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