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Indonesia urges budding entrepreneurs to be stewards of innovation

The Indonesian government has reiterated its call for aspiring entrepreneurs to embrace innovation as the nation continues to boost its competitiveness in the global market. 

According to a statement, Antam Novambar, Secretary General of the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries encouraged participants of this year’s National Entrepreneurship Competition to look at technology as a means to help the country be more competitive in the Global Index level at a time when most financial markets have been in a slump due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Secretary General added that while potential risks due to financial crises, decreased selling power and competition are slowing down the country’s economic growth, the real challenge lies in overcoming doubts and adopting a shift in the mindset of citizens and local investors. 

The statement was made during the virtual National Entrepreneurship Competition held at the Fisheries Business Expert Polytechnic in Pasar Minggu, South Jakarta. The contest constituted the highlight of an entrepreneurship initiative by the Ministry’s education arm. Participants were rated by an assessment team of entrepreneurs, marine and fisheries business owners and other capital institutions.  

Attendees included students and cadets who joined activities held through online and face-to-face interaction. The incentive for the winning entrepreneurial group was a financial recommendation from the Director of the Ministry which they can use to set up their own business venture. 

Capacity for innovation and growth 

In urging participants to cultivate an innovative mindset, the Secretary General also pointed out that, “Indonesia’s Innovation Level Index ranked 85th out of 131 countries [according to INSEAD, 2020]. By looking at the order of the two indexes, let us catch up with us to further improve our personal, group and campus competitiveness which ultimately leads our country to have higher competitiveness.”

He further stressed that the country must strive to lift its global level of innovation which has dropped a few notches in the worldwide index last year, according to the Global Competitiveness Report. 

The study revealed that Indonesia ranked 50th out of 141 countries in terms of overall competitiveness, sliding down five places from its ranking back in 2018. It is the fourth most competitive country in the ASEAN and tails Singapore at the first spot, and Malaysia and Thailand in second and third place, respectively. The report also showed that there is still much room for improvement in Indonesia, whose strengths are its big market size and macroeconomic stability. 

On top of these, Indonesia was reported to have a vibrant business culture in addition to a stable financial system. While it continues to have a high rate of adoption for technological advancements, the rate of development in this area and quality of access to technology is still relatively low. Capacity for innovation, however, was deemed to be increasing. 

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has earlier expressed strong interest in investing in technology, particularly in the electric-vehicle industry. The President;s initiative forms part of attempts to participate in the global supply chain for e-vehicles. 

This action coincides with efforts from other government agencies to include innovation as one of their top agenda. As reported by OpenGov Asia, public officials in Indonesia have renewed calls for manufacturers to invest in digitalisation and artificial intelligence to support the economy’s manufacturing sector.  

In a larger perspective, the government’s enthusiasm in pushing for innovation is in line with its vision to improve five of its industries in manufacturing, including food and drinks and automotives. All these have been incorporated under Making Indonesia 4.0, the country’s blueprint for innovation. Through this roadmap, Indonesia expects to boost its economy by 1% to 2%, with the manufacturing industry making up at least 21% or almost a fourth of the nation’s gross domestic product by the year 2030.

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