According to data from the Ministry of Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), most of the around 65 million micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Indonesia are run by women.
Specifically, around 52.9 percent of micro-enterprises, 50.6 percent of small enterprises, and 34 percent of medium enterprises are run by women, the data revealed.
According to General Chairperson of the People’s Business Group Association (Akurindo) Emir Moeis, all parties must take part in strengthening and developing MSMEs to support the national economy based on Pancasila and the 1945 Constitution.
One of the efforts is pushing women’s participation in advancing Indonesian MSMEs, he said.
The MSME sector has become the main strength of Indonesia’s economy since its contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) has reached 60 percent, he noted.
In addition, MSMEs are providing jobs to 117 million people, or around 97 percent of Indonesia’s national workforce, he added.
MSMEs have high durability to support the national economy, even amid a global crisis, he observed.
For that reason, Akurindo will collaborate with the government to revive the MSME sector and support national economic recovery amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, he said.
As part of the commitment, earlier women SME entrepreneurs with various business backgrounds gathered together under Akurindo to hold the 2022 Akurindo National Conference at Park Hotel, Cawang, East Jakarta, on February 25–26, 2022, he informed.
The conference was held in a mixed online and offline format and was followed by more than 100 people from 20 provinces in Indonesia, he added.
Assistant Deputy for Gender Mainstreaming for Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection Eni Widiyanti said the position and role of women entrepreneurs must continue to be improved.
Even though Indonesia needs around 276 years to reach gender equality, today, many women entrepreneurs have emerged in the country, she noted.
Widiyanti opined that one of the reasons why women should be encouraged to take part in cooperatives and MSMEs is because they are more capable of processing agricultural, plantation, animal husbandry, and fishery products.
Materials produced by these natural resources are processed to increase their economic value and to be marketed, she explained.
Many women are more proficient in managing businesses because they are used to managing their families’ finances. In addition, owning their own business allows women to have flexible working hours and be economically independent, she pointed out.
Meanwhile, Chairperson of Akurindo Yunita Rebeca Marbun emphasized that in order to empower women MSME players, her association will work with the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection and other related institutions.
Aside from providing access to finance, Akurindo will open access to marketing, both online and offline, she affirmed.
The association will collaborate with the ministry to help MSME players, especially women, to level up and go global, Marbun added.
In addition, through Akurindo, MSME players can play a more active role and support the government in accelerating national economic growth, she said.
Regarding access to marketing, since 2016, Akurindo has held MSME exhibitions, including the MSP Expo with the theme ‘Indonesia Gift’ at the Smesco Building, Jakarta, in December 2016; the MSP Expo themed 'The Authentic Taste of Indonesia' at Balai Kartini, Jakarta, in December 2017; the MSP Expo themed ‘Amazing Bali' in October 2018; and the MSP Expo in Probolinggo in December 2019, she noted.
The exhibitions featured more than 300 MSMEs from all provinces in Indonesia, she said.
In 2022, Akurindo and the MSP Cooperative will again hold at least two MSP Expos, namely in Banten province in June 2022, which will coincide with the Seba Budaya Baduy ritual, and the Virtual Expo, which will coincide with the G20 meeting in October 2022 in Bali, she informed.
The exhibition in Banten province will focus on displaying Baduy-made products as well as MSME products from Akurindo members from other provinces in Indonesia, she said.
For the Virtual Expo in Bali, Akurindo will involve hundreds of MSMEs it has assisted from all provinces in Indonesia.
According to Moeis, Akurindo will optimize the current digital trend, namely Metaverse, at the virtual event.
Bali, as a center of tourism, complemented with the increasing number of Indonesians who are participating in the Metaverse, would offer great opportunities, especially during G20 events, he said.
Moeis expressed the hope that the Bali Virtual Expo and the adoption of the latest technology will significantly help MSME players, buyers, and financial institutions get the opportunity to meet face to face so that they can resolve problems related to MSMEs, such as financing.
Currently, many MSMEs have difficulty accessing financing from financial institutions such as banks. To this end, many parties have expressed the hope that there would be encouragement and solutions to help MSMEs access financing, he said.
From there, the role of women entrepreneurs in MSMEs and their contribution to the national economy can be further optimized, he added.
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