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Online Platform Empowers Indonesia’s SMEs Amid COVID-19

Image credits: www.bukalapak.com

An e-commerce company has just announced that they have collaborated with Indonesia’s Warteg Community (small restaurants). This collaboration is carried out to support the business resilience of Warteg owners who are affected by the pandemic situation by utilising the tech company’s digital platform.

Through this collaboration, thousands of Warteg owners can take part in an online business empowerment programme. These Warteg owners can start selling various other types of products, starting from daily necessities, electronics, motor vehicle spare parts, to 42 types of virtual products, such as pulses to travel tickets.

By increasing digital literacy among small and medium enterprises, including Warteg owners, who are the backbone of the nation’s economy, the tech company hopes to help their business resilience, as well as have a social impact and build economic inclusion in Indonesia.

According to the e-commerce company, the social impact presented by their digital platform can be seen from the increase in transactions achieved by partners. For this year, various wholesale, digital, and finance products sold on the digital platform have succeeded in increasing the income of shop owners and individual agents.

The Chairman of Kowantara, Mukroni, Wartegs also welcomed this cooperation. According to him, this can help business owners in the food sector answer challenges during the pandemic.

According to a survey in 2020, more than 20,000 Warteg or nearly 50% of the total 50,000 Warteg in Indonesia were forced to close because of COVID-19. Collaboration with the e-commerce platform is certainly a breath of fresh air for the Warteg community because owners can get knowledge about the opportunities presented through digital platforms to get main and additional income, the Chairman added.

On the other hand, the e-commerce platform strives to continue to provide various services and financial products for everyone, especially unbanked and underbanked people who have limited access.

Therefore, the tech company is also collaborating with several well-known banking and financial companies to increase literacy and financial inclusion. This programme is presented with a line of the e-commerce platform’s services that can be accessed by its customers. Joint efforts of various parties can achieve inclusion and financial literacy.

A service that is also provided by the e-commerce platform for its customers in charging digital wallets, such as e-money. It is a solution so that people who do not have access to a bank can still top up such digital wallets.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, people in Indonesia are turning to digital services during the COVID-19 pandemic, one of which is non-cash payments. Financial technology (fintech) payments companies saw a 267% increase in the number of users.

Growth marketing experts of these companies said the number of users in Indonesia was more than 10 million per month during the fourth quarter of 2020. Companies recorded an increase in the number of users. According to them, there is a substantial addition of new users throughout 2020.

In total, the application for a specific fintech service is already used on 115 million devices. They believed that the number of users increased because people switched to digital services during the pandemic. They also recorded an increase in the number of partner merchants by 95% on an annual basis (year on year/YOY) last year.

As digital payment platforms, these fintech companies encourage MSME players to digitise, especially adopting digital payment methods. They said that their companies saw that there was a great potential for MSME players to enter the digital realm.

These companies also revealed that the efforts they made are in line with the targets of the Ministry of Cooperatives and SMEs. The Ministry is targeting 30 million MSMEs to enter the digital market by 2023.

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