Up until February 2020, Ibu Renny's bed linen business had been doing well. In a week, she was making up to 2,000,000 Indonesian Rupiah – just over £100 – in profit. She was creative in her marketing methods, promoting her products via a popular chat app to people in her community.
When COVID-19 hit Indonesia and people began limiting their non-essential spending to a minimum, Ibu Renny’s business took a turn for the worse. For the first few months of the pandemic, Ibu Renny received almost no orders at all, forcing her to temporarily shut her business down. To make matters worse, her husband lost his job in April.
The family’s downturn in their financial situation meant the couple had to find ways to support their family. Ibu Renny and her husband started doing some online research to find out what kind of profitable business she could run while still taking care of her children at home. She discovered that frozen food was one of the products that had been selling well during the pandemic.
Ibu Renny soon changed her business model completely to sell frozen foods like pempek, meatballs, fried chocolate bananas, pudding, tofu and ice popsicles as snacks for children. Some of the food she sells she makes herself, and some is bought from external producers. Ibu Renny’s siblings help her to promote her products by marketing them via chat apps and taking orders on her behalf.
Ibu Renny has been supported by Youth Business International’s delivery partner YCAB Foundation and has received training on how to manage her finances better. She now also plans to improve her digital skills to help her continue to pivot her business digitally, and to increase her knowledge of government financial programmes to provide better economic support for her family through this difficult time.
"The biggest challenge is when the products have no buyers, so I have to think about ways to attract customers and what business trends are attractive now,” Ibu Renny says. “My advice to others is if there are many competitors, we should be smarter in marketing… We have to be clever to attract people's interest.”
Ibu Renny, who is working with our delivery partner YCAB Foundation, is one of the many entrepreneurs receiving support through our COVID-19 Rapid Response and Recovery Programme with Google.org.