A Year of Empowering Women Micro Entrepreneurs in East Java

Kopernik is proud to have completed another year of empowering women micro-entrepreneurs in Bojonegoro and Tuban, East Java. We are excited to announce that eight entrepreneurs have now graduated from the Wonder Women program who have grown their businesses through skills development, accessing new markets, and improving their business management skills. 

Entrepreneurs participating in a training program about food safety as a requirement to gain a food permit.

Since 2017, we have conducted various capacity building activities to support micro entrepreneurs in East Java, including business planning and marketing. Despite a busy schedule of running their businesses and taking care of their families, there was always a high level of enthusiasm among the entrepreneurs to learn and grow.

Siti Fatimah from Tuban is one of the entrepreneurs who consistently showed enthusiasm to learn new skills. Her creativity and consistency in transforming unused starfruits from her home village of Tasikmadu into a favorite snack recently earned her the second place in the the Adhikarya Pangan Nusantara award in Tuban. In the process of developing her business, Siti has also empowered starfruit farmers in her area. Siti has been buying starfruits which would otherwise be thrown out by farmers due to being overripe or too small. During one harvest season, Siti’s orders can bring farmers as much as IDR 1.2 million of additional income.

Siti Fatimah during a gender and entrepreneurship workshop

2019 was filled with many success stories from inspirational women entrepreneurs like Siti whose businesses have expanded after participating in the Wonder Women program.

Product safety and standards became a priority for the entrepreneurs, given that they were attempting to expand their market reach. Kopernik assisted 12 micro- entrepreneurs to obtain a food safety permit from the local health department. Initially, some of the entrepreneurs expressed some reluctance, particularly related to the cost of the process. However, once they understood the importance of this requirement if they wanted to expand their product reach into modern retail chains, they were fully on board with the Kopernik team who assisted them in preparing the paperwork, conducting the lab tests, joining the food safety training, and accompanying the inspection of the production site the local health official to fulfill all the requirements to receive the permit.

Budgeting and bookkeeping are also important factors if one is going to have a successful business. . Kopernik’s Wonder Women program has been supporting the entrepreneurs in keeping track of their finances. By the end of 2018, 55 percent of the wonder women, were regularly tracking their finance each month.

Lasiatun, a micro entrepreneur from Bojonegoro, is one of the entrepreneurs who have seen the fruits of her diligent bookkeeping habits. Thanks to her detailed accounting, she learned that the price of one of her products — a traditional snack called nagasari — was set too low and wasn’t making enough profit. She initially sold the snacks at a low price as she was working with a reseller. Upon learning that the price was too low, she changed her strategy and began selling directly to consumers. This enabled her to set a higher price for the snacks and earn a higher income.

Expanding business networks is a crucial area of business development for any business, but especially for micro-entrepreneurs whose networks and resources may be limited. In 2019, Kopernik facilitated 25 new partnerships between micro entrepreneurs and distributors across Bojonegoro and Tuban, generating higher income for the entrepreneurs. These partnerships, contributed to an average of 46 percent increase in net profit among the entrepreneurs participating in the Wonder Woman program during a one year period. This is equivalent to IDR 2 million per month.

We are proud of the impact achieved in 2019. In 2020, we aim to establish more partnerships with stakeholders in the private sector and the government to continue supporting inspirational women micro entrepreneurs in Indonesia.