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Google pledges $11 million to support Indonesian SMEs, young job seekers

Ni Nyoman Wira
Ni Nyoman Wira

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Thu, November 19, 2020  /  09:35 am
Google pledges $11 million to support Indonesian SMEs, young job seekers

The logo of the US multinational technology and internet company, Google, appears in this illustration of a tablet photographed on Feb. 16, 2019 in Paris. (AFP/Lionel Bonaventure)

Amid the significant impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on the country, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has struck a motivational tone, saying that this challenging time could be used to accelerate development of the digital economy.

“The potential growth of Indonesia’s digital market is very promising. Every year, [e-commerce] penetration expands significantly. Digital infrastructure development has reached all corners of the country. I’m sure that the digital economy will create even more job opportunities,” Jokowi said on Wednesday in his opening remarks at Google for Indonesia 2020.

The President also said that the country’s micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) had solid growth potential. “Out of our 64 million MSMEs, only 8 million or 13 percent have integrated digital technology. If all were integrated, [their] growth would be substantial,” he said.

Meanwhile, accelerating development of the digital economy required numerous new talents to meet the projected 2035 national demand for 9 million digital talents, including software developers, product designers and content creators, which would require a collective drive.

“This cannot be met by the government alone,” stressed Jokowi. “There must be a collaborative effort between the government, higher education institutions and the private sector.”

Google announced at the event that it was contributing a total of US$11 million to Indonesia, of which $10 million would be channeled to MSMEs and $1 million to support young job seekers.

“Google is providing a capital loan of US$10 million to better equip the owners of small and medium businesses to face these challenging times,” said Google Indonesia managing director Randy Jusuf. 

Google has partnered with nonprofit microfinance company Kiva to disburse the loans to MSMEs through local financial services providers, with details on procedures, interest rates and selected MSME sectors to be announced later.

“We’re targeting to help as many sectors as possible and each SME will have access to our local partners,” said Danny Ardianto, Google Indonesia’s government affairs and public policy manager.

Read also: Google launches kormo app to connect job seekers with employers

To tackle youth unemployment, the technology giant’s philanthropic arm Google.org is granting $1 million to children’s empowerment NGO Plan International Indonesia Foundation. 

Plan International is teaming up with the ASEAN Foundation on its inaugural two-year program, “Bridges to the Future: ASEAN Youth Employment”, to provide a three-month online vocational training workshop, as well as job matching assistance for 5,200 participants aged 18 to 29, of whom 55 percent are to be female participants. The two foundations will also hold online job fairs in collaboration with at least 30 government institutions, companies and organizations.

The ASEAN Youth Employment program also incorporates research into curriculum development, labor markets and skills demand amid the pandemic across the 10 member countries of the regional grouping.

Google also announced that it had added several features to its job search and career development app, Kormo Jobs, launched last year in Indonesia to connect job seekers with local employers for entry-level roles in the retail, logistics, hospitality and services sectors.

One of the new features is a remote interview feature that allows job seekers to schedule online interviews. It also provides training for English job interviewing skills through artificial intelligence-based learning modules and offers over 20 online certified workshops.

Also at Google for Indonesia 2020, the tech company announced the return of its technology career academy, Bangkit, planned for next year as part of the Kampus Merdeka (Freedom Campus) program of the Education and Culture Ministry.

With an application deadline of Jan. 8, 2021, the program will select up to 3,000 students for three interdisciplinary certification courses in machine learning, mobile development and cloud computing that are set to run from February to July.

Bangkit was launched in November 2019 in partnership with the education ministry’s Higher Education Directorate, super app Gojek, e-commerce giant Tokopedia and leading regional travel and lifestyle platform Traveloka, reported kompas.com. (wng)

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