During a dialogue with the Start-Up Singo Edan Malang community, in Malang city, East Java province, on Saturday, he noted that compared to high-income countries, such as China and the United States, the number of unicorns in Indonesia is quite small.
"China has 107 unicorns, while America has more than 200 unicorns. However, Indonesia only has 8 unicorns," he stated.
Indonesia has enormous potential to increase the number of local unicorns since the country’s population is huge – meaning that Indonesia also has a large market and human resource pool for developing start-ups, Thohir added.
Hence, with such great potential, there should be more unicorns in Indonesia, he highlighted. He said he expects dozens of new Indonesian unicorns to be developed in the future.
"We want our country to become the fourth-largest economy in the world. Thus, it is not enough to only have eight unicorns. To achieve it, we must have at least 25 unicorns. I hope there will be one from Malang city," he remarked.
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Hence, young Indonesians, including start-up actors in Malang city, must take advantage of the available opportunities by becoming a productive generation, the minister said.
"Do not be a consumptive generation. You must be productive. You certainly can do it," Thohir added.
Furthermore, he assured that the government will continue to encourage and assist in the establishment of new unicorns in Indonesia through programs such as the Merah Putih Fund and Sembrani Fund.
The Merah Putih Fund will mainly help ‘soonicorn’ start-ups -- enterprises with a valuation below $200 million -- to become unicorns, he said.
Meanwhile, the Sembrani Fund was launched by state-owned bank PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia, Tbk. as an investment program for local micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), he added.
As of 2021, Indonesia has eight unicorns, including Gojek (super-app services), Tokopedia (e-commerce), Traveloka (travel), Bukalapak (e-commerce), OVO (electronic payments), J&T Express (freight forwarder), Xendit (financial technology), and Ajaib (stock investment and online mutual fund).
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