IO, Jakarta – As President of Indonesian Business Women‘s Association (IWAPI), Nita Yudi hopes for more women to become business women. She believes that they can make crucial contribution to the Indonesian economic growth.
Focus on Women
As Nita told to Independent Observer, only 1,36% of 260 million Indonesian are entrepreneurs. “It should be at least 2% for a developing country like us. Even Singapore has reached 7%,” she explained.
Overall, Indonesia holds 54,4 million of formal and informal sector enterprises, and 49,9 million of medium and small micro enterprises. “60% of those enterprises are owned by women,” Nita proudly said.
Quoting the words of Madeleine Albright, the former Foreign Minister of the United States of America, women will return 90% of their business profit to their family and community. “Men will only return 30%. Besides, women are well-known for their tenacity and assiduity in doing business,” said this mom of two kids.
Moreover, one of the World Bank CEOs also stated that women are the best creditor return. “Women are loyal with 0% of non-performing loan,” she said.
With those excellences possessed by women, IWAPI then continued to encourage, motivate, inspire, guide, and even provide training to business women. “More business women who return to their family and community could mean better education, nutrition, health, and environment for the children. It is expected to create a bright future generation. Other than that, independent business women tend to be able to reduce the risk of domestic violence since the mutual respect between men and women are increased,” said Nita who is also a movie buff.
After 43 years of its existence, IWAPI has spread across 32 provinces of Indonesia with more than 30 thousands members. One of IWAPI toughest struggle was to negotiate the government to lower the People’s Business Credit (KUR) interest rate. “KUR commenced in the SBY era with 26% of interest rate. But we were able to convince the government to lower it to 9%. Indeed, we asked for 1 digit interest rate. In Thailand, the government provide full support to their business women with only 2,5% of KUR interest rate,” she described.
Nita remarked that women’s business can start at home, such as a beauty shop, catering, and boutique. Therefore, IWAPI continuously provide training and advocacy to improve business women’s skills. The training is tailored to the needs of people in each region. For instance, people in West Kalimantan need information technology training while people in other regions need chilly and onion cultivation training. In this case, IWAPI establishes cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture.
“In 2017, we cooperated with Facebook to organize a roadshow to 9 regions. In this digital era, to stay conventional means to become audiences in our own home. Somehow, we need to introduce our product to international markets through online platform. So, within the roadshow, we provided a series of training, from turning on computer and hand phone, creating Facebook account, uploading, until promoting product in Facebook and Instagram,” Nita said.
Not only training, IWAPI also provides advocacy services for business women. “For instance is the financial advocacy to create a simple treasury or legal advocacy in putting up contracts and legality,” she said.
Even farther, IWAPI establishes cooperation with some other countries in developing the business skill of Indonesian business women. Since 2000, IWAPI has carried out collaboration with Canada. “We gave our business women representative an opportunity to join a 14 days-training at Canada with all training expenses borne by Canada. There, they learned about feasibility study and billing management. Last year, the training was about coffee while this year is, still, about coffee and fashion. Meanwhile, IWAPI collaboration with Malaysia is more related to products. It is like mutual buying and selling of our respective products. We also carried out some training with Australia, such as spa and fashion training,” said Nita who turns out to be a culinary tours lover.
Then, related to the recent business atmosphere in Indonesia, Nita admitted that there are some burdensome and mitigating governmental rules as well as the global economic condition. “The government is working on some rules, like business license. It used to take months for business women to obtain their business license, but now it only takes a day. Then, halal product licensing that now can be licensed by Household Food Industry (PIRT), not POM (The Indonesian Food Administration) anymore. It simplifies micro entrepreneurs’ job, especially if they join KUR. But if we talk about 1% tax of the turnover for Micro, Small, and Medium enterprises, it is a burdensome part. The 1% tax should be taken from profit and we’re still working it out. The government must listen to our aspiration. They must fully support our business women because basically women can do anything,” she insisted.
At the end, to Independent Observer, Nita shared some substantial must-have tips for business women. “To start a business, it is not capital that matters, but skill. Even if we can’t cook, we can still open our own restaurant by recruiting our friends with good cooking skills. Here, networking is also playing an important role. Moreover, never forget to keep sharp in looking for every opportunity,” she concluded.