Women make up half the world’s working-age population but generate only 37% of GDP. With support to make better use of the internet, women entrepreneurs can have a greater impact and generate wealth for themselves and their communities.

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The Entrepreneurship Indonesia program provides women with online and offline training to build digital marketing skills. In 2017, 8,000 women participated in Womenwill conferences in six Indonesian cities. Additionally, women in 10 cities across Indonesia can participate in Gapura Digital, a free training program that helps women grow their businesses with online tools. Every week, Gapura Digital teaches business topics and hosts discussion forums where business owners can share their ideas. Women business owners can also learn marketing skills with Google’s free Primer mobile app, which features lessons curated by Womenwill.

Women-owned businesses in Indonesia

Small businesses form the backbone of Indonesia’s economy, and many Indonesian women view entrepreneurship as the path to economic freedom. Today, 43% of small businesses are owned by women, but many of these are micro- or small-scale businesses, and comprise only 9% of the country’s GDP.

One reason for this relatively small impact is that these businesses are not using the internet to its full potential. Research from a 2015 study by Google and Deloitte shows businesses with an online presence experience 80% higher revenue growth than those that operate offline. However, less than half of women entrepreneurs say they use technology for their businesses.

Inspiring women entrepreneurs

The Entrepreneurship program in Indonesia provides women with offers online and offline training to build digital marketing skills.

In 2017, we ran Womenwill conferences in Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya, Semarang, Bali, and Makassar to bring women entrepreneurs together. More than 8,000 women attended the conferences, where they inspired each other, shared knowledge, and learned how to use digital tools to help their businesses grow. With the help of local partners, including McKinsey, Wanita Wirausaha Femina, Kartini, The Association of Indonesian Business Women (IWAPI), The Female-Headed Household Empowerment Program (PEKKA), and Google Business Groups (GBG), we are expanding these conferences to more Indonesian cities.

The conferences feature three sessions covering: Inspiration: Successful business women share how they built their businesses, offer tips for success, plus suggestions for using digital tools and skills to grow a business. Education: We explain why business women should be online, and how to leverage resources such as Google My Business and Gapura Digital. Community: We share how women can take advantage of GBGs, local groups of like-minded entrepreneurs who come together to build relationships, learn from each other and industry experts, get inspired, and drive business success.

In addition to our Womenwill conferences, we are now offering Gapura Digital in 10 cities. Gapura Digital is a free training program to help women learn how to grow their businesses using online tools. Every week, Gapura Digital covers a range of topics from digital trends to building a website. We also host discussion forums where small business owners can share their experiences and learn from one another.

Lastly, we also encourage women to use Google’s free Primer mobile app to learn marketing skills, which features lessons curated by Womenwill.

Success enabled by digital tools

Digital tools like the ones featured at the Womenwill conferences, through the Gapura Digital program, and on the Primer app are helping women in Indonesia run and grow their businesses.

After the company where Mariani "Meme" Wijayadi and her husband worked went out of business, the couple decided to strike out on their own. They started their own business, Meme Florist, a flower business that connects sellers to consumers through an online store. Meme and her husband first had to convince local florists to appear on their site. “We explained to our partners that we have a way to sell your flowers outside of the city,“ Meme says. “Then we explained a website was a store on the web, and it was open 24 hours.” As the company’s network of florists grew, they used Analytics data to help partners better understand what customers wanted, which led to stronger sales.

Meme Florist now has 200 partners in 50 cities. Using digital tools meant that Meme could start their business without a lot of money. Today, it also means that Meme can run her business through her computer smartphone while still having time for her family. “Having a business starts with a dream,” she says. “Indonesian women must have the courage to go for it.”

Nova Dewi Setiabudi Mathovani has another success story. Five years ago, Nova and her husband opened Suwe Ora Jamu, a café serving jamu, a traditional Indonesian beverage. Thinking back, Nova remembers: “As a woman entrepreneur, taking the first step was the hardest. Finally I got the confidence to do it. I want other women to have the confidence to take that first step.”

She has now opened Pavilion 28, a jamu bar where young people can network, enjoy music, watch films, and view art exhibitions. She uses digital tools to market her business and to stay in touch with customers, and she wants other Indonesian women to start businesses too. “If you look at women,” she says, “we can inspire each other. Women can teach other women to progress, become more independent, and to have more time for themselves.” While she acknowledges that there are many difficulties and challenges associated with opening a business, Nova encourages women to “push forward. Be persistent, and never give up.”

Visit the program's website to see how participants are getting inspired.

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