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National Lecturer Series: Demography Bonus is Important Asset

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The high number of people at productive age or what is often said as 'the demography bonus' in Indonesia became an important asset in developing independent entrepreneurs. With this, the position of Indonesia in the world economic map is more promising in the next 20-30 years.

"We’re fortunate to have demography bonus with the large number of people at productive age, different from Japan whose economy is now stagnant due to the dominant non-productive old age. This is an opportunity to develop new young entrepreneurs,” said Abdulrachman, Institutional Director of PT. Bank Mandiri Tbk, when speaking to 500 students participating in the National Lecturer Series with the theme Innovation for Independent Indonesia in Auditorium of Magister Management, UGM, Thursday (4/10).

The general lecture on entrepreneurship is joined by 10 universities in Yogyakarta and 11 from outside Yogyakarta through video streaming, presenting speakers Sandiaga S Uno, CEO of Saratoga Capital, and Saptuari Sugiharto, alumnus of Independent Entrepreneurs as well as owner of Kedai Digital. Both testified on their experience in developing their business the hard way right from scratch.

Abdulrachman said the Mandiri Bank through the Independent Young Entrepreneurs is actively involved in generating young entrepreneurs in the country through workshop and cooperation of training centers among students.

"Compared to other nations, Indonesia has still to catch up in terms of composition of entrepreneurs. The U.S. can reach 12%, Singapore between 7.2% while Malaysia 3% of the total population are entrepreneurs. We are less than 2%,” he said.

Mandiri Bank since 2007 has actively tried to generate new young entrepreneurs, including Elang Gumilang (24), winner of Independent Young Entrepreneurship in real estate for very basic home category. “Now Elang’s business has reached 185 billion rupiah in 2011. There is also Hengki, businessman of Bakso Malang (soup with meatballs) with the figure reaching 18.35 billion and became the winner of Independent Young Entrepreneurs in 2008,” Abdurachman explained.

Sandiaga S Uno stated that the demography bonus became a plus that has to be made use of for the increase of national economy. "The demography bonus has to be really used, more importantly between years 2013-2030, where productive age will dominate the economy.Strategic move is obviously required to create new strong entrepreneurs,” Sandiaga said.

Sandiaga said that he started business in 1997 during the monetary crisis when he with 3 staff renting a room for their business. Now it has developed fast with 25 thousand of staff working across the country. “Some success key to becoming entrepreneurs is discipline, creativity, innovation and focus. Elang Gumilang is the example how creativity and innovations are done. Users of basic home add to innovation by arranging a system that home owners can save electricity,” Sandiaga said.

He reaffirmed that to become a reliable businessman needs a long work, always working hard, not instant.

Saptuari Sugiharto, alumnus of Faculty of Geography UGM, young businessman as well as business motivator, said he had started business at college. To be a businessman, people have to be able to stand embarassment and have the nerve to do business and make use of available opportunities.

"My Kedai Digital business started from a small kiosk, now we have 65 branches in 32 cities in the country. Of course, there were failures in starting a business, but we have to cut off the chance for the failure to occur, and now it’s time to start success,” Saptuari said.