Twenty-six young Indonesian entrepreneurs recently undertook the Australia Awards ‘Start-up Ecosystems Course’ run by Flinders University’s New Venture Institute (NVI).
Developed in consultation with the Australian Government and industry representatives, the course aims to help develop Indonesia’s already-vibrant start-up community, transform traditional markets to online markets and generate more capital for start-ups.
Over 16 days the recipients engaged in practical workshops and conferences, where they developed skills and their understanding of start-up ecosystems and strategy from an Australian perspective. Moreover, the delegates were introduced to a number of Australian industry connections including investors, associations, new business success stories and potential collaborators.
The program focused on up-and-coming Indonesian innovators, with many participants’ start-up projects already flourishing. Their areas of focus included agriculture, health, financial services, education, infrastructure and digitalisation, with an emphasis on harnessing emerging technologies to improve business services.
Gita Rofieka, an award recipient on the course, developed an app called ‘TuneMap’ which enables users to report on and capture unsafe conditions found in city pavements which ‘may directly impact accessibility to visually impaired members of society’. In exchange for reporting issues, users can earn promotional offers and other rewards online.
The development of the disability framework is an issue in Indonesia that requires major attention according to Gita. The pavement condition updates are analysed by the app team then forwarded to the pertinent stakeholder for investigation. The app aims to improve accessibility around the city for members and the general public, through reporting specific issues and advocating for higher safety and access standards overall.
Another course participant, Dini, is the CEO of ‘Wanderlust’, a social enterprise that aims to facilitate ‘an authentic and responsible traveling experience by connecting travellers and locals’. The company organises an itinerary suited to each traveller’s needs and also hires local members within the destination community to act as tour guides and hosts for the visitor. The program generally includes a volunteer experience, aimed at further developing an aspect of the local community, be it in tourism, education, urban development or other initiatives.
Dini identified skill shortages and limited employment opportunities as key causes for the economic, environmental and education issues faced by many of her partner communities. She hopes that by creating a connection between tourists and locals, the app can improve prospects and opportunities for local communities.
‘PrivyID’ is an app that enables digital signatures and transfer of documents online through a secure and auditable process. It was founded by another course participant, Marshal Pribadi.
The mass acceptance of digitalised innovation of services has been demonstrated to quicken economic growth. This change also provides entrepreneurs such as Marshall with endless opportunities for new initiatives as financial, government, health and other services move towards digitalisation. However, Marshall stresses that as this process happens cybersecurity needs to be continuously developed and improved to avoid ‘catastrophic’ problems.
Marshall noted that with the ‘great traction and high revenue’ being enjoyed by Indonesian start-ups, he expects collaboration with Australian services to grow in the future.
The Australia Awards short courses aim to expand recipients’ experience of the relevant field of work in the Australian context and to teach new skills, all of which can then be drawn on and further developed back at home.
Building connections based on trust and understanding is another core objective of the Awards, and the curiosity and interest exhibited by the 26 participants during the course was certainly a great base for developing trust and understanding.
The AIC attended a welcome reception in Melbourne for the group, co-run by the Australia-Indonesia Business Council (AIBC), which included a discussion on the tech industry and doing business in Australia. The interviews with recipients in the video at the top of this post were recorded on the sidelines of those discussions.