Pro-Women: Empowering and Assisting Women Entrepreneurs on Lombok Island
The issue of gender inequality in Indonesia is still complicated, overshadowed by a patriarchal system that is attached. Although the gap has narrowed, the fact shows if Indonesia is even less competitive with other ASEAN countries such as the Philippines, Laos, and Vietnam, that ranked in a higher position for the Global Gender Gap Index Survey– conducted by the WEF (World Economic Forum) in 2017. WEF reports if women can be an essential asset in driving a country’s economic and political development. It is in line with the statement from international consulting agency McKinsey who stated if the country fails to implement an equal environment such as gender inequality, there is a possibility to lose 12 trillion USD in the gross domestic product (GDP).
The role of women to participate in the movement of the country’s economic value is highly needed to be fully supported. One of the actions is to strengthen the quality of entrepreneurship or SMEs (Small Medium Enterprises). Compiled from the data of the Ministry of Cooperatives and SMEs in 2015, women are dominating over the 52 million SMEs in Indonesia with a percentage of 60 per cent and keep rising until now. However, those facts became the main basis for the establishment of the Pro-Women program; a business incubation program for women SMEs in Lombok, NTB. Rumah Energi Foundation (YRE) pioneers the initiative, in partnership with PLUS (Pelaku Usaha Sosial) through donations from the Ford Foundation that has been starting since November 2018 and successfully managing 50 women entrepreneurs. Despite that, the selection process was done through a long phase and tight, which at first– the program was announced within two approaches by online and offline.
For the online approach, it was conducted through publications on some social media platforms that belong to the YRE and PLUS accounts, and several SMEs communities in Lombok. Then for the offline approach, it was gathered from the data of Regional Government Work Unit (SKPD), PKK (Family Welfare Empowerment) organization and other stakeholders data. In order to become a part of Pro-Women, there some particular requirements the participants have to complete as follows:
- The women play a role as the business initiator and employ women to get involved in the business.
- The business has to be run for more than six (6) months.
- Do production activities independently (not drop-ship or reseller).
- Conduct marketing activities consistently.
- Possess a strong will to develop their own business.
- Have to fully present on the Pro-Women incubation program.
In January 2018, the Pro-Women successfully selected 50 participants gathered from North Lombok, East Lombok, West Lombok, Central Lombok and the city of Mataram. Then, the business incubation program began intensively in April 2019 until the end of the year of 2019 for 2 to 3 meetings once a month– right away after done the curriculum material development in February 2019. The mentorship program is done by visiting each participant’s business locations– uncover the issues that they faced and discover solutions through intense discussion. Due to the program, we do hope that the women SMEs in Lombok can become well-developed, support one another, enable to upscale the business and empower other women of their local community to get motivated to advocate the nation’s economy– that hopefully would end the issue of gender inequality in Indonesia.