Almost 2 years have passed since the first Covid-19 outbreak in Indonesia. The impact came from different directions including environmental, economic, and social, aside from the health crisis caused by the pandemic itself with small business owners being one of those impacted most.
“We persisted in supporting these women although the situation during Indonesia’s lockdown was terrible. Most mothers that we catered went back home to the rural areas (their hometown), where living costs are definitely cheaper, due to their inability to survive living in big cities like Jakarta. We also saw a decline in income from those who stayed on. We closed 2020 as a business with a big loss of 47% NPL, which we had never experienced before.” shared Veronica Colondam, Founder and CEO of YCAB Foundation.
How did the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic shocks impact small business owners and their livelihoods? And what are the takeaways from this ordeal?
As noted from her latest talk in Youth Business International’s Knowledge Sharing Webinar Series: Refocus, Retool, Reset: Supporting Young Entrepreneurs Post-Pandemic, YCAB Foundation continues to strive forward as a social enterprise entity with innovations that stemmed from the pandemic. The way this pandemic goes has shifted teaching methodologies at all levels of education. Learning remotely with the gift of technology has made it easier to reach more young entrepreneurs to build their confidence and resilience.
“We work with younger demographics because they’re updated with the latest trends and definitely digital-savvy than the older generations. The number of smartphone users has increased exponentially in the past few years, and Covid-19 (to a certain extent) accelerated the opportunities to work with these people to enable digital tools to improve their livelihoods. What we learned: the younger the demographic, the better.” explained Veronica when asked about this program’s target.
YCAB Foundation and Youth Business International (YBI) and sponsored by Google.org, delivered the Rapid Response Relief Programme, which integrated digital elements through the development of an educational learning system that features a Chatbot with a Learning Management System (LMS) and an embedded Helpline. This program aimed to support young people between 18-35 years of age whose businesses have been adversely impacted by the current challenging economic environment.
“As a cohort, using technology is an encouraging approach to increase their livelihood and help them to become more resilient throughout the pandemic. Knowing that these people are still here, it shows a lot as they are coming from the lower bottom of the pyramid. That means, they are surviving; but we don’t want them to just survive, we want them to thrive through digital-savviness.”
A full report on this program can be viewed on YCAB Foundation’s website or click here to view other reports.