This month we launched the insights report from our COVID-19 Rapid Response and Recovery Programme supported by Google.org. With 70-80% of micro and small enterprises facing significant financial hardship as a result of the pandemic, our programme provided entrepreneurs with helplines, websites, videos and mentoring as to how to build emotional resilience, agility and business pivots to survive the pandemic - and reached 375,000 entrepreneurs globally.
We met with Oktavia, Rias and Soleha, three of the 34,000 entrepreneurs in Indonesia supported by our local member YCAB Foundation. Female micro-entrepreneurs in Indonesia found their incomes reduced by up to 70% during the pandemic, and YCAB supportof entrepreneurs, particularly those fitting their business around caring for their families, proved vital.
Oktavia is an entrepreneur from North Jakarta, Indonesia, who started selling food online in 2016. When the pandemic struck, the number of merchants grew, meaning Oktavia faced an influx of competitors, resulting in a decline in profit.
With the help of our member YCAB Foundation in Indonesia, Oktavia accessed financial advice, learning how to separate personal and business finances and track expenses and income. In addition, Oktavia was taught how to create a logo and navigate social media, resulting in her becoming a registered merchant.
The marketing support Oktavia received has caused an increase in customers, orders and profits. This now means Oktavia has bigger dreams for her business, exploring new advertising platforms to promote her food, "the training has awakened me- now I can develop my marketing, so more people will recognise my product."
Like Oktavia, Rias is an entrepreneur selling food. COVID-19 caused her food business to slow down, due to the closure of markets and the concern for her family's health. She decided to start selling her products online, via WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram; with YCAB's help, Rias was trained across packaging, design, branding, marketing and online sales.
"When COVID happened, I was very worried since I have young children."
As Rias' marketing knowledge increased, so did her income. Rias took a financial literacy module which provided knowledge on how to do bookkeeping and manager her finances, key business aspects to enable Rias to fulfil her potential.
"I want to be a boss. That is my hope and dream."
Owner of an online clothing store, Soleha is an entrepreneur living in North Jakarta. Soleha used to work in a garment factory selling rejected clothes at a stall at a morning market.
"When COVID happened, it crushed my economy."
With the closure of markets, Soleha began selling her clothes through livestreaming sales on Facebook three times a week. Through YCAB's support, she learned about digital marketing, how to list her business on Google and was introduced to design software. In addition, Soleha accessed financial support, which taught her about customers paying in installments and tracking the details of debtors.
Selling clothes via livestreaming means Soleha not only attracts customers from Indonesia, but also from other parts of Asia such as Singapore and Malaysia. "I can take care of my children and livestream a sale at the same time."
When national lockdowns changed life as we knew it, almost 7 million people in Indonesia lost their jobs, making it vital that entrepreneurs like Oktavia, Rias and Soleha had the digital skills and access to continue their businesses online. With more than 60% of Indonesia's population using social media, the digital transition of Oktavia, Rias and Soleha's businesses gave them the opportunity to flourish and provided flexibility in their working hours.
Our Rapid Response and Recovery Programme had the aim of forging a path to support entrepreneurs like Oktavia, Rias and Soleha to survive the pandemic. By building the emotional resilience of entrepreneurs, our members have instilled confidence, motivation and financial and digital skills that are vital for survival in a COVID-19 world. 113,165 entrepreneurs reported improving their business knowledge and skills to manage risk and uncertainty. Through accessing support offered by our programme, a staggering 92,803 jobs were maintained.
To find out more about the entrepreneurs that our programme supported, read the report here