By Reyhan Fachry, BIDUK Program Officer
Tujuh belas Agustus tahun empat lima, itulah hari kemerdekaan kita! (17th of August in the year ’45, that’s our Independence Day!)
This is a phrase from a very familiar song that Indonesians sing every August 17, bringing Independence Day spirit to every Indonesian. But what does this unusual year’s Independence Day have in store for Indonesians, especially for Small and Growing Businesses (SGBs)?
Typically, Independence Day is very festive in Indonesia. People decorate their houses with little flags, lights, and ornaments just like Christmas festivities in the US while the younger ones stage various competitions ranging from chess matches to meatball-eating contests, eel-catching contests, and the most famous competition of all — the “Panjat Pinang” or greasy pole-climbing competition. In this contest the men use teamwork to climb the heavily oiled pinang to win prizes such as televisions, phones and even washing machines! The competition symbolizes the fight of our Indonesian war heroes against the colonizers. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, these festivities have been curtailed for the country’s 76th Independence Day.
This past year and a half, the COVID-19 pandemic has made many suffer globally. In Indonesia, more than 100,000 people have now lost their lives to COVID, a grim milestone. The pandemic also caused many Small and Growing Businesses (SGBs) to fail. According to Indonesia Minister of Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises Teten Masduki, around 500,000 small enterprises have gone out of business since the pandemic began.
Moreover, due to the pandemic, it is more difficult for Indonesian SGBs to gain business capital through loans and advances as the financial institutions started to tighten their credit application processes.
This is where BIDUK comes into play. BIDUK is the manifestation of decades of learning, experiences and understanding of the special needs of small businesses. We provide unsecured loans that are customized for individual Small and Growing Businesses. This is where we bridge the needs of SGBs with flexible financial products. We seek clients who have passion in what they’re doing to bring a better future to Indonesia.
Some of our clients had problems with their cashflow due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused declining sales, while some of our clients didn’t always have the working capital needed for their businesses at the right times. We at BIDUK try to help our clients by providing flexible financial structures tailor-made for them. Many of our clients have managed to successfully bounce back to business even stronger than before!
This year Indonesian Independence Day should bring a lot optimism for Indonesian SGBs, an opportunity to expand more. We at BIDUK Indonesia are ready to continue working with Indonesian SGBs, providing access to a more inclusive financial service that is well curated to their needs.
Happy 76th Independence Day Indonesia!
Photo: A team practicing for Panjat Pinang competition. Source: Wikipedia.
Reyhan Muhammad Fachry, BIDUK Program Officer, is an international development and cooperation enthusiast based in Jakarta. He has experience in the fields of PR and communications, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL), and research. Rey has a keen interest in Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as he always believes that development is the closest and most tangible way to help empower and improve people’s lives. A lifelong learner at heart, Rey is a keen individual who always seeks to learn something new every day. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations from Universitas Padjadjaran, Bandung.