As one of the biggest emerging economies in the world, Indonesia has always been a country full of opportunities for entrepreneurs with the right game plan. The largest economy in Southeast Asia and a member of the influential G-20, the island archipelago was once even recognised as the most pro-entrepreneur country in the world by BBC. It is undeniable that a large-scale entrepreneurship in various industries drives a country’s economy, increasing monetary transactions while also opening up new job opportunities. Once upon a time limited to only men, businesses have since seen a rapid surge in participation by women as well, with the emergence of various bold startups and ambitious projects. In this issue, Top 10 of Asia shares its random list of the Top 10 Most Inspiring Young Female Entrepreneurs of Indonesia.
The co-founder and CEO of Female Daily Network, Hanifa Ambadar is a leading figure in the digital media industry thanks to her extensive grasp of consumer behaviour. The MBA graduate from Maryville University in Missouri forayed into the online realm during her final year of studies when she began FashioneseDaily.com, a beauty and fashion blog. The success of website quickly led the way to Female Daily Network in 2009, which is currently one of the country’s largest online communities for women with almost two million unique visitors per month. Her vision for the site is “… to be the company that best understands women, empower women and connect women to each other.” The entrepreneur has received the prestigious Indonesia Digital Women Award in 2013.
An idea that was seeded during Cynthia Tenggara’s time working for another company quickly grew to be Berrykitchen.com, one of Indonesia’s biggest online caterers that she started. A communications graduate from Pelita Harapan University, her stint in Groupon Indonesia opened her eyes to the potential of food commerce in the country. What then began as a 3-person enterprise catering for 50, now has a workforce of some 110 people catering for more than 1,400 every day. Besides catering the company,under the helm of Cynthia,has also diversified into other business models such as ‘ready to eat’ products that can be delivered anytime and the newly launched ‘ready to cook’ section. Due to the great potential of Cynthia’s enterprise, Berrykitchen.com has been invested by various enterprises such as Angin Gepi, East Ventures and Sovereign’s Capital.
Agate Level Up, the largest Indonesian serious game company was founded by Shieny Aprilia, a serious gamer since her time in kindergarten. With the mission to contribute to world happiness via games, the entrepreneur has served more than 35 corporate and organisations by providing game-based solution for their training, education, and marketing. Some of Shieny’s ingenious ideas presented through Agate Level Up include improving the recruitment process in companies by providing mobile game to assess the candidates’ personality, helping the government educate kids about hygiene and improving therapy for eating disorder patients. She believes that our younger generations ought to have happier experiences while learning, so they can learn much better and give their best to the world.
This entrepreneur may have had numerous roles throughout her career, including in sales and marketing, advertising, event organising, media relations and promotions but her true passion is public relations where she has been engaged in for over 16 years. Using her vast knowledge in the area, Ria co-founded TalkLink, a digital public relations firm which got an early start during the onset of the online PR agency boom in 2010. Currently TalkLink stands as a leader among the few PR agencies that offer comprehensive and competitive forms of communications with an ethnological measurement and analytical approach. Ria is also one of the partners of Girls in Tech Indonesia with fellow entrepreneur Aulia Halimatussadiah.
A young design prodigy, Bandar Lampung-born Selphie Bong had started with a fashion week show right after her graduation from the Raffles Design Institute in Singapore. She then expanded her expertise through physical stores, the first one being in Jakarta with consecutive ones in Bali. Touted the ‘Indonesian Christian Dior’, Selphie was the only Indonesian fashion designer out of 15 who were picked to design haute couture looks for the United Nations Year of Biodersity 2010 event in Geneva among other international icons such as Diane von Furstenberg and Reem Alasadi, while she represented Indonesia in Eco Chic Green to Greener programmes in Hong Kong, Milan, Paris, Singapore and Shanghai.
The co-founder of an online platform which helps jobseekers make informed decisions regarding their employment, Veronika empowers professionals by providing them with a comprehensive workplace transparency ranging from salary to other career-related information through her website Qerja. The platform also helps Indonesia’s working population to accomplish their career goals while taking into consideration their experience and knowledge. Besides Qerja, the entrepreneur has also founded Linardi Associates, an executive recruitment agency which makes the connection between demand and supply for manpower in various industries. Before she founded Qerja and Linardi Associates, Veronika has worked for various multinational entities such as CNN, Bozell Worldwide and Price Waterhouse Coopers in USA, and Charoen Pokphand in Indonesia.
A best-selling author, motivational speaker and millionaire entrepreneur, Merry Riana is one of the most renowned female entrepreneurs in Indonesia. She is well-known for getting out of her education debt and amassing more than SGD1, 000, 000 in less than four years since her graduation from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore through her business in sales. Inspired by her overcoming of her own debt situation, she started Merry Riana Organization, a training and consultancy firm that focuses on inspiring and helping young people achieve financial freedom and success at a young age. As a multiple-award winner and a business icon, Merry continues to inspire many through her seminars, books, radio and her own TV show. Her life story has been made into a movie, which became a box-office success in Indonesia.
Dian is the multiple award-winning, leading designer of eponymous modest fashion house, Dian Pelangi in Indonesia. A graduate of the prestigious ESMOD design school located in Paris, she quickly took the fashion world by storm with her widely-celebrated collection showcased at the Jakarta Fashion Week 2010. This native of Palembang has since broadened her credentials by presenting vibrant collections of reinterpreted Muslim attire in Paris, New York, Washington DC, London and Abu Dhabi. Earlier in 2015, she took part in the New York Couture Fashion Week with two other Indonesian designers and was also invited to take part in a ‘Designer in Residence’ initiative at London College of Fashion. She is also featured in London’s The Business of Fashion (BOF) magazine’s list of “500 People Shaping the Global Fashion Industry in 2015,” along with David Beckham and Kanye West.
A self-made entrepreneur who rose in the corporate world with sheer grit and talent, Anita Feng is currently one of Indonesia’s foremost professional public speakers, specialising in marketing strategies, business motivation, new product development and professional soft skills. Her talent for management and business saw a rapid advancement in career as she went from a management trainee to Head of Marketing in just seven years before the commencement of her own enterprise. With a natural knack for public speaking, the Prasetiya Mulya Business School graduate rapidly became a sought-after motivator and author. Besides public speaking, Anita is also the founder of the uber-successful health and wellness centre, Royal Garden Spa.
The founder of a one-of-a-kind online lingerie store called Lolalola, Donna Lesmana was inspired to be a leading player of the undergarment e-commerce industry when she realised the lack of a proper website for women to purchase intimate clothing to their liking without visiting a physical store. Armed with her previous experience of selling sportswear and other outdoor equipment on another site called SukaOutdoor, Donna started Lolalola in August 2014 and the online store has since proven to be a hit. The businesswoman’s ingenious entrepreneurial skills have even captured the attention of renowned investor Ardent Capital and e-commerce logistics platform aCommerce to further expand the site beyond Indonesia and across Asia.