Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) currently serve as the backbone of domestic economy.
These enterprises are even alluded to in government's Nawacita nine-point development agenda, specifically in regards to economic independence and strategic domestic sectors.
In this global era, economic independence through SMEs is expected to have a strong impact on improving the nation's competitive capabilities.
State-owned telecommunication company PT Telkom Indonesia (Persero) Tbk (Telkom) realizes this and has long done its part to help raise the quality of the nation's SMEs. It has done this through its Partnership and Community Development Program.
This program has seen Telkom give SME business owners aid not only in the form of capital but also in terms of training assistance. Telkom has also presented SME products at domestic and global exhibitions.
One such recent recipient of aid in this program is Zulfian, a business owner in the field of stone and wood craftwork.
Despite a positive consumer reception to his work, Zulfian's business efforts suffered from a lack of sufficient capital and limited market reach.
"I visited a number of companies and institutions to offer products. Whenever I received mass orders, instead of being happy, I'd get headaches. The problem is that there isn't enough capital to buy raw materials or pay my employees enough,” Zulfian said.
This is where Telkom came in. They offered him the capital he needed. They gave him training in production, management, marketing, and packaging. Ever since Telkom lent him a hand, Zulfian's business has changed for the better.
"Thank God, as a result of Telkom's aid, my business keeps growing. My annual turnover now is close to Rp 1 billion," said Zulfian, who now has customers in Malaysia, Singapore and even South Africa.
Zulfian has indirectly empowered and created welfare for his local community.
Catur Sugiyono is another example of someone who has benefitted from Telkom's SME aid program.
Catur's expertise is in the art of wooden batik.
After modest beginnings in 1996 making painted masks with a modest capital value of Rp 1.5 million, his Catur Batik Wood brand is now internationally recognized and can be seen in Malaysia, India, South Africa and France. His turnover reaches hundreds of millions of rupiah monthly.
Catur realizes that Telkom has been a huge help in his path to success.
"Aside providing capital, Telkom also gave me a chance to get training program in improving my business management skills. Even Telkom is also facilitating Catur Batik Wood's exports," said Catur.