Most of the ‘wonder women’ we work with in North Aceh, Indonesia are early childhood teachers, earning a nominal teaching income of just US$5 per month. Kopernik, with support from ExxonMobil, decided to work with the women to help them boost their income, without neglecting their teaching duties.
One of the first groups of women we worked with in North Aceh come from Gugus Barat 1, a local educational district. Since joining our Wonder Women Eastern Indonesia program in June 2013, this group of women has quickly picked up new skills which have helped their personal and entrepreneurial development.
A KEEN EYE FOR BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES
The group started a simple savings and loans program, using the margin they earned selling our range of simple technologies. The next step for the Gugus Barat 1 group? They wanted to start a group business to earn even more income.
The women discussed business opportunities with Kopernik’s business development team in North Aceh, and carefully weighed up their options. After a thorough analysis of market demands, and considering the risks involved in each of the available business options, they made a decision: they would start their own flour-milling business.
Flour milling options in the Tanah Luas district of North Aceh are very limited. Demand exists: most people in the district are rice farmers, and they often need rice flour for daily meals. Now, instead of buying flour at the market, they can bring their own rice to Gugus Barat 1 group’s flour milling business, where it is ground into rice flour for them. The price is also very competitive: only 5,000 Rupiah (approximately 4 US cents) for 1.5 kilograms of rice - significantly cheaper than other flour milling places in the district.
In 2015, our Wonder Women program in North Aceh is focusing on developing business groups as a way to empower women and support social entrepreneurship. The Gugus Barat 1 group are the pioneers in this business development program.
“It’s better to be the head of a mouse than the tail of a snake” – Alit Ferdian, Business Development Associate
These words have been a source of inspiration for our ‘wonder women’ in North Aceh, to keep their spirits up despite the challenges that come with starting their own business. Our North Aceh team also supported them with mentoring sessions to guide and motivate them in starting this business venture together.
“I want to earn even more income from this flour-milling business, so that I can send my children to university,” says Nurlaila, one of the women from Gugus Barat 1 group.
OPEN FOR BUSINESS
Their Mandiri Jaya flour mill officially opened for business on 21 May 2015. In Indonesian, Mandiri Jaya means independent and prosperous, a perfect name to reflect the women’s business aspirations. Congratulations to the ‘wonder women’ of Gugus Barat 1, we wish them every success with their new business.