Elsye Yolanda: Operation Chief of GnB Accelerator

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Elsye Yolanda and I’m the Operation Chief of GnB Accelerator.

What’s your story?

Working at a startup accelerator is something that I never thought about doing, because it’s something new for me. I used to work for big corporations in Indonesia. Then I studied overseas because I wanted to have a better job; I did CSR studies in my university, because I wanted to help people while doing my job. I think CSR is very suitable because in corporations, they have money, they help people around them with their programmes. And that’s why it was suitable for me. But when I came back to Indonesia, the reality was different: CSR in Indonesia has a different philosophy. It’s something that you have to do because of the regulations, not because the companies want to do it for the sake of their own responsibility.

At GnB, I get to help small startups at a very early stage. We give them funding and help them through our program. That’s interesting for me; it’s helping people through helping startups.

It took me about 6 months to realize what exactly it is that I’m doing. I went to a conference in Malaysia about changing CSR to CER. CER is “corporate entrepreneurship responsibility,” which is something measured more easily, compared to CSR. It’s helping the startup. The way I see it, the way CSR can help startups is similar to the work of incubators and accelerators.

But of course there is a business in it.

Can you give more context to what CSR is like in Indonesia, and what areas can be improved?

Indonesian CSR…some good companies do it very well, following the true meaning of CSR. But not all companies are like that. Some companies do CSR because of the regulations. The regulation states that some percentage of company profits should be put into a CSR program. And all companies that do something with natural resources, they have to do CSR. The regulation is not very specific, but it makes companies at least have a CSR program. The regulation is also not really in line with the exact meaning of CSR. CSR should be something that comes from the responsibility of a company. Something that companies think that they should do for the sake of people around them, and the loyalty of their employees – because it’s related to the employees as well.

That’s the thing. They are doing CSR only due to government regulation, or somehow, they do it for marketing purposes.

What we can improve? I believe that every company should have their own CSR department, where they really understand what it is and how to implement it.

I interviewed one corporation about their CSR program and asked them, “What is the sustainable CSR program that you run?” and they told me, “Yeah we have a blood donor program as a sustainable program.” They don’t know what constitutes as sustainable and what does not. That’s why I think someone must be responsible to make sure the program and its intended impact are properly thought out. It’s really important.

How does GnB measure the impact of helping other entrepreneurs and supporting them along their journeys?

For startups themselves, because we have just started in 2016, I cannot yet see the whole impact. But when we help startups, we can find how they benefit from the program itself. For instance, they find that their business improved after participating in the program. It’s an impact. It’s a small one, but it matters a lot for the entrepreneurs.

We are helping the startups through investments, of course. But we want to help them scale up, to be excellent in the future. If they can possibly IPO or reach an exit, we want to help them. This is the way we can help in this industry. For me, this is CSR for the startup ecosystem.

As someone overseeing an accelerator program, how do you see the women entrepreneurs compared to the male ones? Is there any difference? Do they struggle with different things?

There are certainly unique challenges for women in the industry. Most of the founders in Indonesia are men. Women have kids but still have to take care of their company – they have a lot of tasks to do.  But I can see that women entrepreneurs in Indonesia are doing it very well. Some of my friends are startup founders, and it seems like that they can balance raising children while running a startup perfectly. I have several women entrepreneur friends, and they are very supportive of each other; the community of women entrepreneurs is strong. Women entrepreneurs face challenges, but they tackle the obstacles together as a community.

I think on the investment side, it’s a bit challenging as well. It takes time to fundraise, it takes more effort to get investors, and somehow you have to meet an all-male investor team. In Indonesia, there is the perception, too, that women are more comfortable if someone is physically accompanying them. On the investment side, it’s not something that you can do, right? You have to pitch in front of men, in a public area, where it’s not your husband. It’s weird for some people. Being a female entrepreneur is challenging because of the culture in Indonesia.

In terms of ecosystem, as ecosystem builder, what things can be implemented for better supporting women in their journey?

In our portfolio and alumni list, we don’t have a lot of women entrepreneurs so far. But I know outside, there are a lot. In the future, we might think about having a program specially targeting women. We won’t give investments yet, as it’s very difficult to source startups for the current ones, let alone for women-only startups. I believe women also look for mentors and connection to investors. It would also help to have more women investors, because women understand women.

Have you faced any challenges as a women in the startup space? Startup space is very male-dominated. How do you navigate that?

They call me mom, somehow (laughs). Like bunda, bunda! Accelerators need more women as well. We are more detail-oriented than men, I can say. The way we negotiate with startups, it has a more personal touch. We do one-on-one sessions, where I ask founders personally what their needs are. It’s very important to have women in accelerator programs, because I cannot imagine if accelerators were run by an all-male team.

Being a woman in this ecosystem is also challenging in terms of networking sessions. For myself — as you know, I’m wearing hijab. When we go to places like clubs (for networking parties with startups), someone might think that I’m not a good Muslim.

Do you have any personal women heroes or role models?

I do! Her name is Monthida McCoole; she’s from Singapore, a former manager at muru-D. She’s now on the investment side, where there are not so many women investors. She understands what I’m doing, and I really adore her. She’s also one of our mentors at GnB. At the beginning when I started working at GnB, she helped me a lot.

Do you have a message you want to share with women or girls looking into the startup space but who are unsure of themselves?

The startup ecosystem is a very open space; they generally never categorize you as a man or a woman (although some do). It’s a good place to start building your own idea; you can do things your way and better in the startup ecosystem. I believe that programs like mine – accelerators and incubators – can help startups and women entrepreneurs. And of course, there are a lot of communities that can help  support women. Don’t be afraid to start. There’s a place for women everywhere, in any business.


Elsa Dewi Santika: Co-Founder of Luminocean

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Elsa Dewi Santika. I’m working for an organization called Luminocean. It is an educational ecotourism organization based in Banda Neira, Maluku that I set up with my business partner – Mareike Huhn from Germany. We started it in November 2014; it’s been 3 ½ years of a journey for us.

Can you talk more about Luminocean? How did you get started? What was your inspiration behind it?

Well, it started when I was in Banda Neira, in September 2013. I had come to Banda Neira to do humanitarian activities, bringing donations from Jakarta, Singapore, and Malaysia and distributing it to remote islands in Indonesia. When I arrived in Banda Neira, I came across a dive center owned by a German, who was also a dive instructor. I learned diving from him and fell in love with the place. When I found out that they have an NGO set up by a few Germans in marine conservation, I signed up as a volunteer to work at the NGO and stay in Banda starting from Feb 2014 until October 2014.

While I was there, I had this idea: Why not start a self-sustaining organization, rather than an NGO which relies on donations? An entity that has its own business model. I was inspired by Blue Ventures in Madagascar, which provides a scuba diving internship for the purpose of conserving the environment in Madagascar. I brought this idea to my friend Mareike. She agreed and said “I also have the same idea – why not do it together?” It was actually born as Sea Ventures, but we changed it to Luminocean in 2017. So yeah. After some brainstorming, Luminocean was born.

Can you describe what social impact Luminocean seeks to achieve and how you go about achieving it?

So I think there are a few types of impact. First, we want to create environmental awareness for the people, especially for the local people. In Banda, the Bandanese – they live from the sea. However, they do not know how to take care of the creatures living in the sea such as coral reefs and the fish there. There’s so much plastic trash in the ocean in the Banda Sea. And every year there are certain religious traditions where plastic ends up being thrown away – into the sea, into the water. We want to help educate locals in Banda to not throw the plastic waste into the ocean.

In addition, we want to create environmental awareness for the international community. There are a lot of scuba divers – tourists from Europe that come to Banda. However they just dive for fun without thinking much about the environment. So we want to create another product, where diving is not only for fun but meaningful as well. For instance, you can learn about the coral reefs. You can participate in scientific research. We work together with some universities –  one from Germany, another from Australia, and local universities in Indonesia. We bring scientists and projects to Banda and we offer these projects as part of a package of scientific diving to these international divers. That way, they can come to Banda not only for recreational diving but also for environmental and scientific diving. The revenue that we get, we channel it to environmental education as well as English and computer literacy to the Bandanese people.

You mentioned that your passion is in environment and education. How can the private sector go about addressing education and making a difference in people’s lives?

Basically, education in Indonesia is already established, you know. The mainstream education. However, the private sector can contribute on top of mainstream education in terms of more practical education. For example, the voluntourists we bring to Banda can interact with the local kids. Kids can learn in terms of practicing their English with the tourists, or other skills like computers. At the same time, these children can also learn diving. In the future, these kids – upon graduation – can work in the diving or tourism industries.

More and more tourists are coming to Indonesia and to Banda Neira every year, and I want this next generation to be prepared and to be equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills, and therefore be independent and self-sustaining. In remote islands because of the lack of jobs and opportunities, they might just want to be a civil servant or teacher when they graduate. Or maybe those who lack opportunities, they think they can only be fishermen or do some labor work, which only gives them a very minimum amount of salary. But in the tourism industry, there is a huge chance to earn more than just being a fisherman or laborer.

Based on your experience, have you noticed any difference working with girls in education? Are there different issues?

From my experience, girls are more motivated than the boys (laughs). I ran this English course – 3 girls 2 boys. The girls were much more motivated than the boys – the boys were still playing.

The challenge for Banda is that it’s still quite a traditional society. Girls are expected to behave in a certain way – it’s not liberating. It’s not good for the independent kind of thinking that we want the girls to have. We want the girls to be educated and to be independent, not to only think, “Oh I want to get married after I graduate,” because of obligation, but to postpone the marriage and to do something that they want first, to be something that they want first before finding a spouse and having a family.

How do you kind of go around that traditional mindset? How do you convince girls or their families that they can pursue their goals rather than immediately start a family?

At the moment we cannot force people to change their mindsets, especially in the short term. What we can do is work with others who are more open-minded. Some people allow their daughters and children to work with us. Some people do not. So we choose to work with people who allow their daughters to work with us. However, we hope that in the future we can bring some changes – we can open the mindset of the people and show them that working with outsiders – foreigners including me (in the Bandanese point of view, I am a foreigner even though i’m Indonesian) – is fine and can bring benefits as well.

What challenges have you faced, being a woman in the startup ecosystem?

Well, I mostly faced challenges from my own parents. They have these expectations of me working in big cities – in Jakarta, or…because I used to study and work in Singapore, they expected me to be more oriented towards more “developed” countries or cities. However, me choosing to work in more remote islands was pretty challenging because they didn’t really agree with my idea. I think that was the biggest challenge I faced at the time.

What are some tips you can give women entrepreneurs going into a room full of investors, who are often all-male?

Just be confident. As long as you know what you’re doing, it doesn’t matter if you’re male or female. Even if you’re male – if you don’t portray that self confidence, people will sense you don’t know what you’re doing. Investors will have that sense as well. But if you’re sure and full of self confidence, people will feel that. Know what you’re doing.

Any advice for other women entrepreneurs who might want to start up a venture?

My advice is just do it. Sometimes we think too much – you see there is this thing called analysis paralysis. We think too much, about how we can earn money from a startup, how we can survive. I didn’t think about any of that at the time of starting Luminocean. I was pretty naïve (laughs). Looking back, I probably would have thought if over 2-3 times more. But I think if you’re passionate about something enough, you should just do it. And everything will fall into place if you just do it.

What’s your advice for overcoming doubts or doubters – for example parents, a spouse, or other naysayers?

Starting from where you are is also a good idea — not making a big change, because people – parents, spouses, children – might not react well to sudden change. Starting where you are is so good.

However, if there is a calling in which you have to go somewhere else, where you have to make big changes – I think it is important to have a support system. Maybe a group of people who also have the same ideas who share the same passions. If there are two or three or more people who can walk with you, it is more fun and more bearable. It becomes easier to brush off those negative voices that come your way.


Fany Okthalia of Wonderlabs Academy

Tell me a bit about yourselves.

My name is Okthalia. I’m a business major student. Aside from being a student, I’m also involved with female empowerment. I inspire to be a changemaker, no matter what others say. I’m really concerned about women’s rights and how women are usually misjudged in society. Maybe that’s what inspired me to do something and be the voice for women to be heard.

My name is Isthofany Irfana Azkiya (or Fany for short) and I am a female software engineer. I always wonder why people hold the stereotype that women cannot be skilled in tech? Why they can’t be prominent in the tech industry? Actually, women can make it as programmers. My goal is to change the perception of women in the tech industry, to show that women can be programmers, too.

Can you tell me a little bit more about the inequalities you’ve noticed in the tech industry and society in general? What stories out there have inspire you to do this?

Okthalia: Actually if you ask it like that, I’m afraid it will be out of scope of our concern in Wonderlabs Academy. but I’m just going to say what I feel. In Indonesia, some people  – whether we like it or not – some people think women still belong in the kitchen, or are born to be housewives, cooking and taking care of kids. And when a woman has a higher status than a man, nobody wants to approach her because men certainly want to be higher in status than women, right?

There’s something that really bothers me a lot — how religion is mistakenly correlated with culture. For instance – I’m a Muslim, and Islamic tradition does not promote disrespecting women. But somehow in [Indonesia] we still believe that women are not capable of leading. It’s,  you know, the belief that women just belong in the kitchen and need to have kids and everything. It is true that women have emotions and might be more empathetic than men, but that doesn’t mean that the degree of a woman is worth less than that of a man.

So in starting Wonderlabs Academy, what challenges have you faced? How do you make yourselves keep going?

Fany: We just started the pilot project, so this is the first batch, the first cohort. The enthusiasm is good. We got 78 applicants, but we could only accept 8 due to limited resources. We luckily have had no hate comments or objections or anything like that.

Okthalia: The challenges we face are actually general challenges. It’s a challenge people face in running a school, such as how to convince the participants that what they’re learning matters, and teaching the participants effectively. Another challenge is in finding resources to teach them.

What’s your vision? Your long-term goal for Wonderlabs Academy?

Fany: I hope there will be more women in technology. Women are good – we are better than men in some ways (laughs). Just kidding. But we have to be confident. We can do it.

Okthalia: Actually, the tech sector is really interesting and it really brings benefits to women. We understand that women want to take care of their children. Actually, you can do that in the tech industry – you can work from home.

What are some tech trends or news that excite you?

Fany: We want to support our government program – 1000 Startup Digital. 1000 Startup Digital is a government program in which the government wants to support and create 1000 startups. It’s something that is new for Indonesia, but startups are rapidly growing here. For example, GO-JEK, Grab, Kitabisa, Bukalapak, Traveloka, etc.

What is one thing you want to tell girls out there who want to be developers but are unsure about themselves?

Fany: We have to be brave and believe that we can do it. If we are really patient and really want to learn, we can be good programmers.

Okthalia: For me, for the developer, it’s that yeah, I think it’s pretty much like Steve Job’s message: If you want to succeed in a goal, you have to be curious and dig deep to find the insights you need to get there.


Du’Anyam Receives Investment from Northstar Foundation


Du’Anyam, Indonesia’s first social enterprise focusing on wicker crafts, is pleased to announce that it has received an investment from the Northstar Foundation.

Du’Anyam produces and distributes wicker crafts to empower women, promote culture, and improve maternal and child health in rural Indonesia. The company provides quality and design improvement training for weavers and connects their existing skills and resources to both domestic and international markets. Working with Du’Anyam, the women receive up to a 40% increase in their income. Du’Anyam also partners with local health workers, non-profit organizations, and Corporate Social Responsibility programs to enhance impact on nutrition improvement and education programs for children of the weavers.

Du’Anyam was founded in 2014 by Azalea Ayuningtyas, Yohanna Keraf, and Melia Winata. Today, Du’Anyam works with more than 450 weavers across 17 villages in East Flores, NTT and supplies over 24,000 wicker products per year to hotels and corporations in Indonesia. Although most of its business is wholesale, Du’Anyam’s products are also available for purchase at various retail locations throughout Indonesia, including Alun Alun Grand Indonesia and Bika Plaza Indonesia.  Du’Anyam has been selected as the official handicraft merchandiser for ASIAN GAMES 2018.

Du’Anyam is excited to announce that it has received an investment from Northstar Foundation. The company plans to use the funding to scale its business through product design and capacity improvement while expanding its social impact to women in other rural areas of Indonesia.  In 2016, Du’Anyam received seed funding from Ibu Mariko Asmara, a member of ANGIN’s angel investor network.

“Partnering with the Northstar Foundation will facilitate significant growth of our social enterprise business. We see vast opportunities to enter new markets and form collaborations to deliver further impact for our weavers,” said Azalea Ayuningtyas, CEO and Co-Founder of Du’Anyam

“The Northstar Foundation is very pleased to support Du’Anyam in the expansion of their business and the improvements that they are bringing to the lives of their weavers.  We are committed to having a significant impact on local communities. The commitment of the Du’Anyam founders is inspiring and a great fit for our impact mission. We look forward to working with Du’Anyam to achieve even greater success going forward.” Rani Sofjan, Co-Chair Northstar Impact Committee, said.

“We are very proud to see the progress that Du’Anyam’s team has made since we started working with them. They have demonstrated strong focus and the ability to increase their impact while always striving to scale and expand their operations. Having the Northstar Foundation as an investor in Du’Anyam gives us confidence that the company will receive even more strategic support to expand further. It is also seen as a strong validation of both the commercial and impact aspects of Du-Anyam’s business model,” said David Soukhasing, Director of ANGIN.


About the Northstar Foundation

The Northstar Foundation is the community impact vehicle of the Northstar Group, a US$2 billion private equity firm based in Singapore, dedicated to investing in growth companies in Indonesia and South East Asia. The Northstar Group has a team of over 50 professionals that bring together significant international experience, deep local market insight, and sensitivity to local conventions and conditions.


ANGIN (Angel Investment Network Indonesia) is Indonesia’s largest angel investor network with more than 60 angel investors on board. ANGIN has dedicated team to support entrepreneurs on their fundraising journey by equipping them with the right assets, connecting them with minded investors, to ensure entrepreneurs get the right resources at the right terms in order to expand their operations and impact. Today, ANGIN has closed 33 investments.


Vanessa Hendriadi Li: CEO & Co-Founder of Go-Rework Coworking Space

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m Vanessa Hendriadi Li, and I’m CEO and co-founder of Go-Rework Coworking Space.

You’ve had extensive experience working in IT, marketing, finance and you also have a background in chemical engineering. How did you come to starting your own co-working space?

Even though I have a technical background, I have always loved connecting with people and connecting people together as well. Ever since I was a teenager, I have been passionately involved in different student organizations, something which I carried towards my adult life. Even outside of work and business school, I found myself either being involved in different clubs or even starting one. So I have a huge passion for community building.

On the professional side, when I came back to Indonesia, I was in charge of the market expansion of my family business back then. Part of it was finding real estates, finding new locations, understanding markets in a new location as well. So, because of that, I found that building a co-working space and platform is a great combination of both my knowledge and expertise, my experience in real estate and my passion for community building. When I started Rework, I found that is what I really wanted to do and is what I am passionate about.

Co-working spaces in Jakarta are really starting to boom. Just recently, Rework merged with GoWork to become Go-Rework – are co-working spaces the future of work?

In a lot of mature markets, you see that more and more companies, not just startups, but also corporates are embracing this new working environment. Because technology has changed everything – the way we live, and the way we work. I remember even a decade ago, when I was living in the States, more than 95% of people do the 9-5 and when they come home from work, that was it. These days when we wake up, we check our WhatsApp, we check our emails, and our social media. Everywhere we go, when we are stuck in traffic or whatnot, we are able to work almost anywhere and at anytime. The fact that vast majority of work spaces look the same as they did decades ago is really screaming for disruption. So I believe that this is how people will work in the near future. Co-working spaces will enhance collaboration, it enhances learning and networking, and integrates more live and play. So that is what we are trying to build in Indonesia.

In terms of the startup ecosystem in Indonesia, where do you see it going in the next 10 years?

I think startups are growing very rapidly in Indonesia. The growth of SMEs in Indonesia is the largest and fastest-growing in the Southeast Asian region. The timing as well is great because right now more than 70% of people are in the workforce (below 35 years ago) which means that in the next decade most of them will be in the workforce. Technology adoption is getting much easier and faster. My husband used to work in China for 6 years and we moved back to Indonesia 5 years ago. When we got here, he realized that Indonesia is just like China when he arrived. I think the demographic and profile is very similar in terms of the size of the market and also the fast adoption of the internet. So I think that the growth of startups will still continue, now we just need to ensure that the quality is there. Education is very important to ensuring the country gives birth to great quality companies.

In terms of being a woman in this startup space, have you encountered any obstacles in your career?

I think my biggest challenge now is time. It’s about balancing work and family, especially being a mother of two young children. I have a 4.5 and 3 year old, and I don’t feel like I spend enough time with them. I don’t know if they share the same feelings, but I wish I could spend more time with them. I see many startup founders who are still quite young and possibly single with no kids, but I also have the advantage of experience. Because I have a lot more limited time, I’m forced to be creative and learn how to prioritise things well. That’s my challenge in being a woman entrepreneur.

In terms of challenges in the market, I think it’s more of a benefit than barrier at least in my experience, as there aren’t as many female entrepreneurs. It’s about proving to yourself that you can do everything, and believing that being a woman is not a limitation. Then, people will start to notice, and the market will start to notice you.

Women tend to have a slightly stronger ability to read people and understand feelings by connecting with people, not just on the head but also on the heart. So even dealing with my team, I spend a lot of time with them not only in trying to reach targets but I also put a lot of time and understanding into coaching my team members. I think that’s very important. As a founder, not spending enough time communicating with your team, is one of the culprits of not being able to grow sustainably because I believe that it’s the people in the team that creates the business and grows the company.

Does being a leader come naturally to you?

Like I said, I love connecting with people, because of my interests and because of my belief that everyone is interesting and has a story to tell. So I like to coach my team, of course I have to balance my time as well – with fundraising, with deliveries that we need to present to investors, as well as the recent merge. We have an aggressive plan ahead for the company, however balancing that with good team communication is crucial.

If you could tell young entrepreneurs one piece of advice what would it be?

Don’t be afraid to chase your dream. I think we tend to be very hard on ourselves, at least I am a lot of the time, but to me making progress everyday gives me so much happiness. So it doesn’t have to be a leap, doesn’t even have to be a significant achievement everyday –  as long as you move forward everyday. Part of it is being comfortable with uncertainties. We live in a world where nothing is certain, so be comfortable with that and don’t be afraid to chase your dreams.


Pravitasari: Co-founder of TuneMap

ANGIN Women’s Spotlight series seeks to showcase a diverse array of inspiring women leaders and their stories and experiences in order to shed light on the unique experiences of women in business. We hope that both men and women can gain from these shared experiences, that these stories can inspire change, and that other young girls are motivated to become leaders as well.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Pravitasari, and I am working on an application called TuneMap which is a GPS navigation app for visually impaired people who live in the city. We use crowdsourcing sites to connect visually impaired people with sighted pedestrians who will provide information about road conditions. Our aim is to empower the visually impaired community by creating safer roads to walk in, so they can lead a productive life and access proper facilities within the city. It’s about creating equal opportunity.

What was your background previously and how did the idea come about for TuneMap?

Firstly, I am an avid pedestrian who likes to walk a lot. As a sighted person, I feel uncomfortable walking on the existing pavements in Indonesia. At university I also studied psychology, which helped me better empathise with people who are different from me. If walking around the city was not accessible to sighted people, what would it be like for people who cannot see?

So I created Tunemap and tried to get it up and running with the support of some friends. We entered a UNDP competition, and through that, we were lucky enough to get connected with the largest visually impaired community in Indonesia who we work closely with in developing this project. We also work with UN volunteers in Indonesia who connect us with Indorelawan and also with the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MENPORA). We started with a societal mission, now we are trying to sustain this idea by also looking for funding opportunities to monetise our enterprise.

As a startup, what have been the biggest challenges and how do you overcome them?

It has been quite difficult finding fundraising such as equity, because we are focused on a very niche market and it is hard to find investors who want to invest in this market. That’s the challenge we are facing, but we are so glad for the grants we have received, which have allowed us to come up with the initial product, test it, and then validate it to the related stakeholders, to the users and to the beneficiaries – the visually impaired people. So the grants have helped a lot, but we know that we cannot rely on them in the long run.

the most important thing is to keep going. While fundraising is not an easy process, me and my team are clear about the why – why we want to do what we do. That keeps us going. We face so many failures and rejections. At least this year we prove that we can keep going and keep achieving one at a time.

What do you hope to achieve with your application?

We have two goals, that is, creating an inclusive and data-driven city. First and foremost, our focus is to empower visually impaired communities and provide sidewalks that are comfortable for them to walk on. After that, the benefits will flow to the rest of the community. The thing is, the government doesn’t know which areas to provide proper pedestrian footpaths and also who will use it. They have created pedestrian paths sporadically, without the use of data. So, we at Tunemap, are trying to solve that problem by using the data that is collected by the pedestrians to promote walkability in the city. Places like Jakarta but specifically Bandung, still have that walking culture. That’s why we started in Bandung, because a lot of people are still walking. Even if one person walks, they can make up to 20-30 report which is a lot of data collected already.

Being a woman co-founder in this startup ecosystem, have you had any particular difficulties dealing with gender dynamics?

I’m grateful that I have a team that is very supportive. Our co-founder is also a woman and our tech team is led by a man, and he is fine being led by two women. As women, we try to prove that nothing is different in leading. There may be limited interaction between us and the investors so we don’t know yet the ecosystem in the investor landscape towards women founders, but internally we have no issues with that. We are contacting with the stakeholders are fine with that, they will also be challenged coming from it, we are trying to figure out how to tackle it. Because I am also married, my challenge is how to balance my role as a leader in this enterprise and my role as a wife. So the challenges as a woman founder, requires time and effort in the workplace, so the challenges is between balancing the role, for me so far so good. The most important thing is communicating with your partner, so that we can find a way. As women leaders I think we should not lower our expectations of what we can achieve just because we’re women.

Do you have an tips on leadership?

I’m not a natural leader – so I need to read widely and observe from other people. I think for women and people in general who think they are not able to lead, don’t feel down, because everyone can lead. Just try to figure out what your weaknesses are, focus on your strengths, and where should you improve. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – either from your co-founders, teammates, or friends and family. As women leaders, we should not lower our expectations of what we can achieve just because we are women.

Do you have any female role models?

Sheryl Sandberg, of course. Through her book I realized that women leaders do have their own challenges but it should not hinder them to become a leader. Apart from that, I learned how to compromise with our partner without having to lower expectations on our own career aspirations.

What do you love about your work?

Since I was a child, my parents would tell me that the most important thing in life is how you can impact other people. So those values have been instilled in me from a really early age, they are what keep me going everyday knowing that our application is making a difference.


[RECAP] Alpha Female: How We Tech Up

Alpha JWC Ventures organized its latest round of Alpha Leader Series event with theme ‘Alpha Female: How We Tech Up’ on Saturday (24/2) at Spacemob, Gama Tower, Jakarta.

Moderated by Melina Subastian (Investment Manager of Alpha JWC), four prominent female leaders in tech industry were invited to share their insight and knowledge in a panel discussion. The four were Grace Natalia (Co-Founder of AsmaraKu), Dayu Dara Permata (SVP GO-JEK, Head of GO-LIFE), Sonia Barquin (Partner, Digital Banking at McKinsey & Company), and Alyssa Maharani (Google Launchpad Accelerator Startup Success Manager).

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Key Messages

  • Do not be afraid to negotiate. According to Sonia, only a small percent of women are willing to negotiate their salary or ask for promotion.  Sonia advised women to be more comfortable with their capabilities and omit their fear to ask for more.
  • Get your right support. Alyssa Maharin stressed the importance of getting the right support; from mentors, coaches, and sponsors who will fight for your promotion. This requires an ability to build a good relationship and trust with managers.
  • Don’t stress out, work-life balance is subjective. Grace Natalia reminded women not to compare themselves with other mothers or co-workers as the work-life balance of everyone can differ. It is important for women to discover their own balance.
  • No such thing as ‘or’. Dayu Dara emphasized that as women, we do not need to choose career or love, family or job. She encouraged women to expand their possibilities because she believed women can achieve both.


Metha Trisnawati: Co-founder of Sayurbox

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m Metha from Sayurbox which is an e-commerce platform distributing fresh, local produce and dry goods from local farmers and producers. Amanda [Susanti] and I have been doing Sayurbox since July 2016. I currently manage the operations of Sayurbox, which entails sourcing from the farmers and establishing relationships between them, managing the warehouse and logistics, and distribution of the produce.

How did you come into this partnership together?

Amanda is actually very passionate about farming. She had a farm initially, and worked together with the local farmers in the area. At the time, I had just finished my Masters degree, came back to Jakarta and met Amanda. She told me about this project she wanted to build, which sounded really exciting. So I got on board.

For a lot of urban people, living in cities means having access to all kinds of produce at the supermarket and not really having to think about where it comes from. Do you think there’s is a trend towards a renewed focus on local and seasonal produce?

We try to communicate those values to our customers. For example, we have farmer profiles on our website so the customer knows exactly where their food has come from. The response has been really good, people are really excited whenever we post on social media. This is what really excites us, to be able to reach more farmers to join our network, so we can serve more customers. People are really embracing this concept of farm-to-table fresh produce.

Having worked closely with these farmers, what are the sorts of challenges they are facing in this massive food value chain?

Logistics is one of the major challenges they are facing right now, because not many farmers have the access to it. That’s where we come in. We provide assistance with access to markets and help them manage logistics in order to distribute crops to the customers in the areas that we cover. In many farming communities, there are long supply chains which means farmers depend on parties like village traders. They have to sell their crops to the first traders to get the initial capital to grow their produce, then when harvest time comes around, they sell their produce to the first trader at the price that they’ve set. As a result, they are not able to set up a decent market for their families. We provide them with an option so that they don’t always have to sell to their first trader, instead they can sell to us for a fair price, and we can help distribute to the consumers and the market.

Have you experienced any major challenges in setting up Sayurbox?

Again, in terms of logistics, we have had to build the operational system by ourselves. Initially it was about approaching the farmers and building a relationship and gaining their trust. They were just used to selling their crops to village traders, so it was intimidating for them at first to see strangers coming into their village. Lots of the challenges that we face from the start is mostly the operational challenges, identifying how we can help these farmers and efficiently distribute their crops. It keeps us going though, knowing that there are a lot of opportunities to tackle these issues, and get as many farmers on board as possible.

And being two women founders, have face you faced any gender biases in your career?

Luckily not really. Everyone that we have met on our journey with Sayurbox have been really helpful. They don’t focus on the fact that we are two women, but there is definitely still that stigma of ‘Can you actually do this?’ Because as a woman in Indonesia, and in society more generally, there’s that idea that you need to have a family and do all these things by a certain age. I personally don’t have those kinds of issues. But they are still very much prevalent within society. At Sayurbox we really try to encourage women, in fact 80% of our team are women. We try to build a culture for women where we are supportive of each other. For example, if one of our women employees needs to take care of their children at home, they have the option of working from home. That way they can achieve that balance between work and family life.

What do you love most about the work you do?

For me, it’s the people I have met. Getting to meet the farmers has always been my favourite thing. Whenever we go for sourcing, I get to travel, learn how they grow their produce, talk with them about their life on the farm and the challenges that they are facing. It’s incredible to see their passion for growing food. The feeling you get when you talk to them – you can see their genuinity, and the love they put into growing their fruits and vegetables. They work very hard. We also employ mothers in our warehouse, who work for us during their free time to earn extra cash for their families. They pack, pick and check the quality of the produce. It’s a very satisfying feeling getting to work closely with different people.

What’s one piece of advice you would say to young women entrepreneurs?

Just do it. Don’t be afraid or be limited by the stigmas within society. Just have the courage to explore. I personally don’t have a background in farming or agriculture, but having met Amanda and seeing how passionate she is makes me want to learn more. There are always going to be challenges – just believe in yourself, try your best and you will go a long way.


Claire Quillet: CEO of Towards Sustainable Businesses (TSB)

ANGIN Women’s Spotlight series seeks to showcase a diverse array of inspiring women leaders and their stories and experiences in order to shed light on the unique experiences of women in business. We hope that both men and women can gain from these shared experiences, that these stories can inspire change, and that other young girls are motivated to become leaders as well.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m Claire Quillet, a French citizen who lived almost 20 years in Indonesia, mother of 2, CEO of Towards Sustainable Businesses (TSB). TSB is a consultancy agency supporting mainly private sector to design, implement, monitor and evaluate development program and/or corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. Our main area of expertise is WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene), as well as education and environment. Our aim is to ensure that employees and surrounding communities will universally have access to WASH and therefore to a better health, as well as creating positive impact to the company’s business.

You’ve been in Indonesia for almost 20 years. What made you want to stay for so long?

You know, I arrived on a two-months contract – it always starts that way. I came as an emergency specialist, working for an emergency NGO. I came in 1999 during the Maluku crisis, so I was based in a tiny island in Maluku, providing displaced people with water and sanitation, foods and health care. In terms of natural disasters, it has been non-stop in Indonesia since 1999. From the crisis in Timor, to the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, with earthquakes in Yogyakarta, Padang, Alor or Nabire – for a WASH emergency specialist, this was the place to be. I stayed for work, by helping people in need. That’s the first reason.

Also moving from one island to another, is almost like working in different countries. Food, people, religion are different, only the language, nicely, remains the same. It’s so diverse that you don’t feel tired to be here.

Unfortunately, up to now, needs still exist for a lot of Indonesian people. You know, more than 30 million Indonesians do not have access to a toilet which causes water borne diseases (diarrhea, for instance) that kills almost 140.000 children under the age of 5 years every year in this country. So, there is still more to be done.

Have you had many difficulties during your career and how did you overcome them?

Of course. Different challenges at different times.

In the NGO sector, the objective is to reach the most vulnerable in the communities. The challenge will then to be in the field and have enough means and money to deliver programs.

I have been working for UNICEF for 8 years. The challenge was different. WASH is unique because you are dealing with several ministries including the minister for health, education, environment, Bappenas, etc. So, collaboration and coordination are crucial to achieve goals for a vast country like Indonesia. Bureaucracy can slow down the progress. But, improving regulations or changing policies take time. You must keep your motivation up and be patient.

Moving to the private sector and creating my own company was another challenge. First, actually creating it. I was lucky to find an Indonesian angel investor who believed in my idea. TSB provides unique services for multinational and Indonesian companies in the domain of sustainable CSR programs. But, CSR as a business model is not yet understood by most of the private sector. Our work is then challenging but also very exciting.

As a female founder, have you had any challenges in Indonesia?

Not at all. I think Indonesian people are very respectful. Especially being a female and an expatriate, they will esteem you a lot. They are eager to learn. Whatever they learn from you, then they will do ala Indonesia. Sometimes it might not be what you wanted, but that’s their way of doing it. You don’t want to be an expat bombarding them with how you do it in your country – because it’s their country. For me, being a woman is really a blessing.

How so?

I’ve always worked in a predominantly male environment. Indeed, WASH is technical, and few women choose this sector. With most of the men I met in my work, there is no ego game when they deal with a woman. Maybe because we also have a way to pass on the message. We are more patient. At the end of the day, the outcome is the same, but we do it in a different way.

The positive part of living in Indonesia for 20 years, is that they see you as somebody who has the international experience but also someone who is here for the long run. You know the culture, you know the language, and the how the people work. I speak Indonesian to my clients rather than English, and they respect that. Indonesians are very patriotic. Even if you don’t speak very well, as long as you try, they understand that you’re making the effort. Here, if you start to make a good relationship with someone, it is forever. The people I know in the government and in business, I have known for the last 10 years. Even when they move companies, you still have their contact details, and they will still help you.

In your work, have you ever seen a gender gap, in the population in general, problems to do with gender or equitable distribution?

Working for NGOs over the past years, we listen to the voice of the women in a different way, because their needs are not the same as their male counterparts. So, yes you have gender inequality. Unlike in the Western world, the issues of gender equality here are not just about equal pay and domestic violence, but women are still finding their place within society. You will see women who stay at home, some work for small salaries, and have many kids but won’t always have access to family planning. Not only that, but the geographical inequalities are also present. You can see the difference between Jakarta and the more Eastern islands like Papua. Women’s empowerment initiatives exist, but we are still far away from reaching gender equality.

Can you talk about one woman who has impacted your life?

I do not have a role model. But there are some Indonesian women I really admire, for example Ibu Tiur. She is the head of Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and used to be the head Indonesia Business Council for Sustainable Development (IBCSD). She’s amazing – she has the knowledge, motivation and the drive, it’s inside her. Even though she’s a busy person, she will take the time to talk with you, to see how she can help with your business, or even just talking in general. She has an incredible network and aura that everybody sees. It’s not about money or power for her. She is amazing for her country.

You are also a mother, right?

Yes, I have 2 kids, one boy and one girl.

You would hope to see them grow up in a world where things are better and both of them can grow up to be on equal footing. How do you instill those values in both your kids? What do you hope to see for them in the future?

For me, that lies in education. They have to understand where they come from. They have their father here, but also have roots in France. When they were young, I bought them a globe to open their minds up to the world. It’s about discussing the problems that they face, and having that daily discussion with them where nothing is taboo. I also talk a lot about my work, so they know what I am doing, and that I have worked in different parts of the world. Just showing them by example is opening their mind up a lot. Whatever they want to do in terms of work, it’s up to them. Just do it with the sense of human to human.

It’s scary to have kids at this time. If I was a young woman now I would ask myself if I want to have kids because I can see where the world is going, in terms of the environment, the growth of internet and consumption. Adjusting to this as a mother is challenging, but I always keep positive.

That’s why I am doing what I am doing. Engaging private sector to see business differently, to leave a better world for the future generation. CSR is not philanthropy. CSR program should impact the company’s business – whether it’s for their reputation or brand development and serve the community needs. A sustainable program, that will develop the company business and the community, need a thorough design. It is crucial to conduct robust preliminary study within the community to understand the context, their needs, as well as their aspirations. It’s not about what you want to give them. It is a human to human experience.


Giulia Sartori: Founder of Miachia

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m Giulia Sartori, I’m the founder of Miachia. We specialise in energy bars and bites, made from real fruit and premium ingredients.

You started in climate change consultancy, what was the point at which you decided to switch careers?

My background is in economics. I did a masters of environmental management and I started my career in climate change about 12 years ago. To be honest, I didn’t really know if I wanted to quit my job for good, and I still don’t. I just needed a break from that environment, despite the fact that I really did like my job. Around a year and a half ago, I wanted to change jobs but I couldn’t find anything that was exciting enough. Then I had a terrible experience with my boss at the time, which made me really want to try my own thing, something different. At that time, I was really excited about healthy eating and food. So I thought I might give it a try.

So you were already in Indonesia? Why did you choose to base your company here?

Yes, I came to Indonesia about 6 years ago for my work and my husband followed me. It was a funny evolution of things actually – he wasn’t feeling too well at first, and was later diagnosed with gluten intolerance. I then decided we had to change our lifestyle, so I enrolled myself in a nutrition course that I was doing at night and on weekends. From there, I started experimenting with recipes and things that I could do. I wanted to have a healthy lifestyle for us and the kids, but I couldn’t find much in the Indonesian market. It just came to me that maybe I could start my own business creating healthy snacks.

What is the concept of Miachia?

The concept is dead simple, but funnily enough it’s a concept that a lot of people don’t understand. So our products are 100% natural with no preservatives, refined sugars and syrups, just using 2-5 ingredients. Just nuts, fruits, and seeds. That’s it. So it’s really simple, but many people don’t see the added value of eating so simply and so naturally. The thing that I have most difficulty with, is that we say that our products don’t have added sugar in them, which they don’t, but are naturally very sweet because we sweeten them with fruits like dates, figs and raisins. Many Indonesians won’t believe us when we say we don’t use any sugar – they say, “They’re really sweet, how is that possible?” We just blend fruits!

We also try to source everything locally and directly from farmers as much as possible.  Unfortunately it’s not possible for all our ingredients, so what we do source from outside, we try to source from organic suppliers.

So your market a mix of Indonesians and expatriates?

Yes. Initially, it was purely expats. Simply because those were the people that could easily understand our product. The feedback that I got was surprisingly really good. At the moment, I’m trying to expand to the Indonesian market as well, which is generally upper-middle class. Number one, because those are the people who are concerned about diet and healthier eating and are also able to afford our product.

Having led number of teams throughout your career, what leadership lessons have you learnt?

When I started Miachia, I made a conscious decision to only employ women. Particularly those who did not have an education, both older or younger and haven’t had many previous employment opportunities. With that in mind, I have had problems that i’ve never had before in terms of leadership. One of them is implementing procedures and standards, and explaining why things are done in a certain way, has proven difficult to put in place and enforce. The main thing i’ve learnt is to be flexible and patient. I did not have a lot of patience before and I could often be demanding. I was very fast paced then, whereas now I have to take a step back and go a lot slower.

Being a mother of two kids, how do you juggle all of it? What are the secrets?

Look, I have to admit, I never get it right. There are times where I really need to focus on work, and I just focus on that a lot more than my family. Then there are times where I have to take a step back and take more time for the kids and the family. Maybe I’ll go to work and then come home a little bit earlier. Weekends are absolutely non-working days. So I try to have a balance but very rarely I get it right. I just see what is priority.

Overall, the family has always been my priority. Of course work is important, but I always try and make time for them. When I quit my job, I started this company with the intention that I would examine how the business if going after a year, and decide whether to go back to work and find myself new employment. So during that year, I worked so hard to get this company up and running. But I also wanted to enjoy my kids while I still had the flexibility, which I wouldn’t have in a normal 9 to 5 job. So I tried to spend a lot of time with them, because they’re small and need time and attention. People say its quality versus quantity, and at this age it’s actually the other way. It’s about how much time you spend around them, so I try to be around as much as possible.

Do you have any advice for any young women who want to go into entrepreneurship?

One of the advantages I had in starting my own company was that I was not afraid of failure. That helped me a lot, it helped me to start and not overthink it. Therefore I focused on how I was going to do things and try to be successful, rather than sinking into fear and thinking about the what ifs. I actually give mentorships to other women here that are looking to start their own business. The most common question asked is ‘What if i fail?’ My answer to that is

‘So what?’ If you fail, at least you will learn something from the experience and wouldn’t have lost much except time, and even that is compensated by the experience that you’ve learnt. My advice to young people is don’t be too worried or scared to fail, because you probably will in some areas at least. Just take that lesson and you apply it back to something else next time.

When starting a business pitch your idea and business model to as many people as possible, especially entrepreneurs, their feedback will help you structure or improve the concept. Within this year and a half of starting Miachia, there have been many things that have not worked at all. For me, it’s just been expenses in terms of money that I’ve thrown out the window. But I wouldn’t have known if I didn’t try.  Don’t be worried about what your friends or family will say, just do it. The younger you are the less you have to lose as well. So, who cares.