Social entrepreneurs are those who tackle social issues and try to overcome them using the power of their own enterprise, as efforts on their own may often be powerless. These issues may be spread across various sectors such as health, environment, economy, education and many more. Indonesia, being one of the largest developing countries in the world, is no stranger to the term ‘social entrepreneurship’. There are plenty of social entrepreneurs wanting to give the people of Indonesia better lives. Many of which have made have a significant impact in helping the country. Due to their efforts in attempting to make the country a better place, Top 10’s Indonesian correspondence have picked 10 of them to be inducted into an exclusive list of top 10 social entrepreneurs in Indonesia.
- Marsya Anggia
Among the several volunteering work she had done, her experience in the remote village of Riau Island is what prompted her to go back to social work. With 3 years of experience on grassroot NGO and e-commerce, Marsya leads Indorelawan, an online platform that connects NGO and volunteers to reach their social mission. It also provides service for corporate volunteering and merchandising.
- Veronica Colondam
Being in a prestigious list of Forbes 10 Most Inspiring Women in Indonesia, Veronica is a social entrepreneur that founded an enterprise which empowers millions of youths in a sustainable way. She founded YCAB (Yayasan Cinta Anak Bangsa) which strives to fulfill different areas, one of it being allowing social investors to invest with a near-market date return and five-year pay back period. YCAB ranks 49 in Global Journal’s list of top 500 NGOs. Veronica was the youngest recipient of the United Nation’s Civil Society award.
- Helianti Hilman
Inspired by Indonesia’s rich heritage of food diversity and culinary tradition, Helianti left her job as a lawyer and consultant to work hand-in-hand with local indigenous farmers. She founded Javara to assist farmers in earning money for their traditional products. For her outstanding work, she has received many awards such as Indonesia’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year, and has made the list of Forbes Indonesia’s Inspiring Women Honor Roll. Her work also has been profiled in various leading media including Guardian UK and The Huffington Post.
- Tri Mumpuni
Tri is an agriculture engineer who has been campaigning for decades to replace diesel power plants with micro hydro plants to develop economic growth in Indonesia. Her organization, IBEKA, has successfully installed more than 60 micro hydro projects and solar photovoltaic technology for water pumping system across the country and the revenue from sales is directed to villages for development. In 2012, she flew to Atlanta where she was awarded the Global Peace Award, and within the same year, received an Ashden Award given by Prince Charles. She also became Woman of the Year in TEMPO magazine, Indonesia’s version of TIMES.
- Sugianto Tandio
Born on the island of Sumatra, Sugianto Tandio is the director of Tirta Marta, a packaging company which helps the environment by replacing plastic with bio-degradable alternatives, and as a result of that, played a significant role in ‘greening’ Indonesia. He has successfully led the company by reaching high growth in sales despite initial prediction of going bankrupt. Sugianto is a visionary leader who holds a principle of going the extra mile. In 2012, he successfully obtained the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award.
- Butet Manurung
The award-winning anthropologist, educator, author and acclaimed environmental activist has dedicated her life to educating the indigenous people of Indonesia. After leading a program for the conservation of jungles in Sumatra, her work evolved into co-founding SOKOLA Institute, an organization which provides educational opportunities for marginalized people in remote areas. She has received international recognition, including being named TIME Magazine’s Hero of Asia and UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere award. Butet’s first book, the Jungle School, has been adapted into a feature film by award winning film makers. The movie brings audiences on an in-depth journey in the jungle, which showcases the early years of Butet’s career.
- Romy Cahyadi
The 42-year old co-founder and executive director of UnLtd Indonesia, an incubator for social enterprises, may be able to help individuals that could possibly make this list in the future. UnLtd helps early stage social enterprises grow their businesses by providing support in terms of grant, soft loan, mentoring and provision of contacts to improve specific areas. Romy has been invited to speak around Asia, such as Asia NGO Innovation Summit and Asia Young Social Entrepreneurs Conference. He was also a panelist at Asia Venture Philantrophy Network Conference in Hong Kong.
- Mary Northmore
English-born Mary moved to Indonesia in 1986 after marrying Abdul Aziz, a prominent artist. Life took an unexpected turn after Aziz passed away in 2002, and Mary spent much of the next few years compiling a book about his art and life. Shortly after that, Mary was approached by doctors who wanted her to establish a foundation for children with clef lip/palate and other cranio-facial disabilities, so she founded the Smile Foundation of Bali, for which Queen Elizabeth II awarded her with an MBE. To date, the foundation has helped almost 3000 patients across Indonesia to access good quality clef and cranio-facial healthcare.
- Hemant Chanrai
Upon completing his education in the UK, Hemant returned to Indonesia and set up Azzura Solar, an off grid solar power company aimed at providing home solar power systems for low income and rural communities. He got the idea after working in a textile factory and realized there were pockets of small local communities living with inequity power. Today, Azzura Solar partners with over a dozen CSR programs to help rural communities and has provided over 300,000 lumens and 5,000 extra study hours for children living without power and increased safety for families. With millions of homes still living in darkness, Hemant plans to grow his team to reach and help out more communities in the future.
- Dissa Syakina Ahdanisa
Dissa founded Finger Talk Café in 2015 and by doing so, empowered deaf individuals with work opportunities while also giving customers the chance to learn more about the deaf culture. She drew inspiration after volunteering for Education Plus Nicaragua where she came across Café de las Sonrisas which had the similar concept of employing deaf individuals. Finger Talk Café also managed to grab the attention of President Obama, as he mentioned the café in his opening speech during the YSEALI Town Hall meeting in Laos that was held recently. Dissa plans to expand her café even further by including more workshops and training for deaf individuals to enhance their skills.