The crafts on display at Alun Alun
With the Founder of 'Chef's Bakery'
At the mobile phone credit shop and cafe
There is a strong tradition of women's entrepreneurship in Indonesia, particularly in small and medium size enterprises
In August Cherie visited Jakarta to see for herself some of the work being done to support women running SME's there. Small and medium enterprises play a dynamic role in the Indonesian economy. The number of Indonesian SMEs is 42.4 million and they contribute to 56.7% of GDP, account 19.4% of total exports, and employ 79 people. There is a strong tradition of women's entrepreneurship in Indonesia, particularly in these small scale enterprises. Cherie was given a tour of Alun Alun, a store based in an upmarket shopping Mall which provides an outlet for traditonal crafts, made mostly by women from across the Country and also features designers who use traditional fabrics such as Batik; sometimes giving it a modern twist to suit contemporary fashion tastes. The store enables the women to reach a much wider market than they would otherwise, hence its reuptation as the 'Window of Indonesia'.
Cherie also had the opportunity to meet the team at Femina magazine group whose entrepreneurship mission work aims to 'empower women to become economically independent and gain greater prosperity by embracing entrepreneurial activities'. The group reaches out to and educates women through coverage in their magazines, their website and related social media, plus workshops, seminars, promotional bazaars and the bestowing of annual awards for best practice in a number of categories: Fashion, Cooking, Handicrafts, Education and Beauty. In collaboration with Ernst & Young, Femina also connects the participants in the competition with a network of established entrepreneurs, corporate leaders, investors, advisors, customers and suppliers who could help them to expand in the future. Cherie met a number of this year's winners and had the opportunity to admire their work which ranged from patchwork household items to breadmaking and IT solutions.
Cherie also accompanied a team from the Grameen Foundation and Qualcomm Wireless Reach to see what a difference they are making in the poorer suburbs of Jakarta to the lives of women there. They saw first hand how being given a loan to set up a small business seeing mobile phone credit from her home had transformed one woman's life and that of her family. The team also spent time hearing about the experience of many other mothers in the local community who had started up small businesses which enabled them to care for their children by working from home yet also generate income for the family as a whole. As dusk fell the guests broke fast together seated on benches around a local cafe - run by another woman beneficiary of a Grameen foundation loan. Cherie showed her appreciation with the gift of a basket of bread and jams from the Femina Award winning Chef's Kitchen bakery.