Jakarta has been known as one of the world’s biggest urban agglomerations, ranking fourth after Guangzhou, Tokyo, and Shanghai. It is home to more than 27 million people and the capital of Indonesia – Southeast Asia’s largest economy. As one of the G20 members, Indonesia has seen rapid economic growth in recent years. The BBC ranked Indonesia as the best place for entrepreneurs to start business in their 2011 survey, beating the United States and Australia. Since Jakarta is the capital of Indonesia, almost all that is happening in the startup scene happens here. It can be said that the entrepreneurship eco-system is quite established. All the major events like Startup Asia, GEW, and Startup Weekend are hosted here in Jakarta. There are also several global entrepreneurship programs in Jakarta, such as Global Entrepeneurship Program Indonesia (GEPI), Endeavour Indonesia, and Founders Institute Jakarta.

Coworking Scene

According to an article by Tech In Asia, last year there were 8 coworking space in Jakarta. In recent months, the number of coworking spaces has exploded. Several of the new coworking spaces have opened around the Sudirman Business District in the heart of Jakarta. This is where meetings often take place and where large companies’ offices are based. Space such as WorkOUT, TierSpace, Comma, and Conclave are all within a two miles radius of the Business District. Most of the coworking in Jakarta mainly focus on startup companies. Venture backed startups often will occupy spaces that are provided by their investors. There are a few coworking that is backed by venture capital like the recently opened East Venture Hive. Backed by Japanese based venture capital East Venture. But the demand for coworking space is a little bit different here in Jakarta. Most bootstrap startups won’t come to coworking spaces because of the fee they have to spend monthly. Bootstrap startups often use their own house for their office and operations because it is cheaper. Not a lot of freelancers in Jakarta work in coffeeshops because the wifi connection is very slow, preferring to work at home instead. So, coworking space here must find an alternative demands beside startup companies. It is quite a different story in Bali, which is the most popular tourist destination in Indonesia. There are a lot of thriving coworking space in Bali compare to Jakarta. The demand for coworking space in Bali are huge especially from foreigners who seek a place to work.

Women Entrepreneurs

Women entrepreneurs as startup founders are still few and far between even in Jakarta. But one increeasing trend is middle-class stay-at-home mothers selling goods online These women often use instagram to sell products as it is very easy and can be run from a smartphone. Some of them don’t even have a website. They employ the so-called Shoutout for Shoutout (SFS) methodsto increase market exposure. They are part of several LINE groups for women that own an Instagram account with a minimum of 1000 followers. Each of them will promote everyone else in their LINE group.

Opportunities and Challenges

According to McKinsey, the Indonesian economy will become the 7th largest economy by 2030, overtaking Germany and the United Kingdom. This means that Jakarta will be the center of growth. More and more investors are coming to Jakarta to expand their businesses. This also means opportunities for young Indonesians to start businesses. However, entrepreneurship in Indonesia is still weak. Difficult access to capital for small business and poor education has resulted in one of the lowest rates of new business formation in Asia. Besides education, there is a cultural issue; the term ‘success’ in Indonesia means that you hold a steady job in a huge company. There will be a lot of resistance for people who want to venture out and start their own business. Some location inventions (added by Jumpstart Team)

  • A shoe to fend off attackers: A 14-year old in Indonesian boy invented an electric shoe that can help women fend of attackers.
  • A Male Contraceptive Pill. A team at an Indonesian university invented a 99% effective male contraceptive pill made from a shrub found on one of the islands.
  • Parental Control App, Kakatu, lets parents control and restrict their children’s activities on smartphones or tablets.

ArifAuthor: Arif Setiawan is an Indonesian serial entrepreneur and an online marketing expert. His latest venture, WorkOUT Coworking Space, is a coworking space inside a sports complex. Currenty with one location which is across the street from Indonesia Stock Exchange. Before starting WorkOUT, he was the head of entrepreneurship program for Mien R. Uno Foundation, incharge of developing entrepreneurship program and mentoring for college students who has started a business. Twitter : @arifsetiawanID