With SMEs making up a huge chunk of Indonesia’s economy and workforce, it is no wonder that the country is doing everything it can to make sure they make it out the pandemic in one piece. In a bid to help 10 million SMEs in Indonesia adopt digital technology in 2020, the Indonesian government will be holding a three-week bootcamp for 30 selected startups that can provide services such as supply chain and finance management for SMEs.

This initiative, called Pahlawan Digital (Digital Heroes), the training course began on 23 September and will select the 10 best startups out of 30 participants as strategic partners for Indonesia’s Cooperatives and SME Ministry.

“They will provide not only market access [for SMEs] but also support efficient business processes and supply chains, access to financing and entrepreneurship development,” said Teten Masduki, Indonesia’s Cooperatives and SME Minister.

Indonesia’s economy contracted by 5.3 percent in the second quarter of 2020, impacting many SMEs operating in the country. SMEs account for more than 60 percent of Indonesia’s GDP and employ a huge percentage of the workforce, at around 96 percent.

According to Teten, the number of small businesses operating on digital platforms has reached around nine million, or 14 percent of all small businesses. This include one million new enterprises to have gone digital during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In July of this year, Teten had identified a number of factors that were hindering the digital transformation and adoption of digital processes by SMEs. Chief among them were unstable internet connections and high internet costs, a common issue faced by smaller businesses throughout the country. Teten encourages more SMEs to go digital, saying that going digital will enable SMEs to access a wider market and keep themselves in business during the pandemic.


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