Since last June, YCAB Foundation hand in hand with Youth Business International’s (YBI) Rapid Response Recovery Program funded by Google has been providing support to small business owners during the pandemic of COVID-19. Women entrepreneurs are assisted through a helpline where there are online chat support services, providing information regarding COVID-19 health issues and business support from various institutions. The women entrepreneurs receiving help from YCAB Foundation, YBI and Google.org are Renny Agfhany and Mega Verani, who own home-based small businesses in Jakarta.
Renny started a business selling bed linens while also working to increase her monthly income. Renny’s business started well from mid 2019 until February 2020. She makes money selling the bed linens via WhatsApp to people she know. After the COVID-19 pandemic, her income is significantly decreasing and she stopped selling bed linens. People prioritize and would rather buy things for their basic needs. Renny saw the opportunity and started to change her business selling frozen food since April 2020. She sells a wide array of food products such as pempek, meatballs, fried chocolate bananas, pudding, tofu, and ice cream. Some of the food she sells is self-produced and some others are from local producers.
“My advice to others is if there are many competitors, we should be smarter in marketing”, Renny said.
Similar to Renny, Mega Verani also owns a food business and other small businesses. A housewife with one child, she is an employee at a travel service company in a mall near her house. Mega decided to start a business to have some other source of income, especially during uncertain times. The food products she sells include brownies, cookies for Eid, risoles, jelly drinks, pancakes and bread. Mega and her husband own a laundry service business since a year ago and they’re also receiving orders to decorate wedding gift packages. The pandemic has slowed down Mega’s businesses, both the laundry business and the wedding gift packages business. Adapting to the condition, recently Mega started selling masks.
Both Renny and Mega have received training through videos on how to manage family finances. Now they are growing their businesses by thinking about ways to attract customers and looking out for other attractive business trends. Mega advised that we must be smart in observing the situation and take opportunities from that. “Don’t give up, always look at the bright side. With our current situation facing COVID-19, we are required to wear masks. We can see that as a new opportunity for business,” says Mega.