Overcoming Barriers to Grow Enterprises

May 4, 2017

Mercy Corps and the Mastercard Center partner to support entrepreneurs in Indonesia in strengthening and expanding their businesses.

by Andi Ikhwan

In Malang City and Malang District Indonesia, more than 450,000 micro, small and medium business owners are working hard each day, as part of the backbone of Indonesia’s economy. Micro and small businesses account for more than 95% of all enterprises in Indonesia and employ more than 90% of the country’s workforce —making them a powerful group with the potential to be a major engine of economic growth for the country and beyond. But entrepreneurs also face significant challenges when it comes to strengthening and growing their enterprises.

Mercy Corps and the Mastercard Center, building upon our five-year partnership in Asia, set out to learn what the major barriers to success are for these enterprises and to work together with business owners to drive solutions.

Our recent assessment of micro and small enterprises in Malang City and Malang District gave us a wealth of information, including insight into specific constraints in access to financial services, material procurement, marketing knowledge, technology and labor, business management, and other business supports. But despite these challenges, we also heard from business owners, a resounding desire to overcome barriers and grow.

For example, our team met Nurul, a 33-year-old female business owner who sells chickens at the local market. Nurul wants to learn how to grow her business, “I want to sell more chickens, from 50 to 70 per day;” she said, “to do this I need to add to my capital. Hopefully I’ll be a boss in the future…” Our goal is to empower women like Nurul with the skills and tools they need to reach their goals—be it becoming a boss, increasing revenue or improving market access. Other women we spoke with expressed similar desires including learning how to save more money, improving marketing skills or having greater access to financing so they may purchase equipment to improve their quality and productivity.

This assessment is the first step to help Mercy Corps and Mastercard set in motion a plan to reach more than 2,000 of these businesses, more than half headed up by women, and help them access the business and financial training, access to financial services, mentoring and other tailored support, needed to grow their businesses, earn higher incomes and create jobs.  Together, we are proud to support entrepreneurs in building a brighter future for themselves, their families and their community.

Andi Ikhwan is the agriculture and financial services program director for Mercy Corps Indonesia.

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