Social and creative enterprises contribute to Indonesia’s more inclusive economic growth by creating jobs for communities including people with disabilities, women and youths who are living in marginalised areas and are facing challenges in accessing the formal employment sector. . Capacity building and policies in support of social and creative enterprises that aim to address social problems are required for the sector to flourish.

British Council participated as capstone partner and mentor in the Think Policy Bootcamp – a series of workshop to learn about policy-making process for 16 weeks, that culminates with Policies for the Nation presentation that was  held online by Think Policy Society on Saturday, 6 June 2020.

‘Policies for the Nation’ is a closing event of the Think Policy Bootcamp, where bootcamp participant groups present their discussion on various themes agreed with the capstone partner. All of the themes correspond to the policy themes in the National Medium-Term Development Plan (RPJMN). British Council and Think Policy Bootcamp are working together for the “Encouraging Inclusive Economic Development through Social and Creative Enterprise strengthening theme.

Represented by Ari Sutanti, Senior Programme Manager, British Council, as one of the mentors for capstone project, British Council also took on the role of discussion reference point in the “Developing an Inclusive and Creative Economy through Creative and Social Enterprises" session, hosted by the Group Capstone Economic Growth.

In the session, the group presented several policy options that could be considered by the government to support social and creative enterprises. The presentation was delivered to more than 400 webinar participants, and policymakers, ensuing in a process of dialogue and discussion on how to develop the two sectors.

Aside from the questions and suggestions from discussion participants, Camelia Harahap (Head of Arts and Creative Industries, British Council), Ahmad Dading Gunadi (Director of Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Bappenas), Wahyu Wijayanto (Sub-directorate Head of Creative Economy, Bappenas), and Ari Margiono (Head of Center for Innovation, Design and Entrepreneurship Research, Universitas Bina Nusantara) each provided their respective  response that enrich the presentation on how to advance the social and creative enterprises industry in Indonesia, through government policy.

“Developing an Inclusive and Creative Economy through Creative and Social Enterprises” session discussed social and creative enterprises development as one of the efforts to support inclusive economy through job creations and fostering social and creative enterprises to work together with the government to create economic opportunities and solve social issues. This topic is gaining more importance in the post-pandemic era, considering a lot of people have lost their jobs.

Leonard said that there are four main problems that are faced by the social and creative enterprises development, namely: funding, soft skills, marketing and sales, and also legal matters. Leonard talked about alternative solutions from the four main problems, that were followed by proposed recommendations.

Responding on the issue, Ari Sutanti added, as one of the short and long – term alternative solutions, the government could optimise the procurement of goods and services to support social and creative enterprises, certainly without compromising current standards such as best price and quality. For example, by adding criteria such as the use of local materials, environment-friendly production, optimizing local workforce to reduce emissions from transport. This policy could help social enterprises since most of them have been implementing an eco-friendly and sustainable business model.

“Social and creative enterprises provide more jobs creation for those who are unable to participate in the mainstream economy.  We should continue to discuss more and work together by involving youths to talk about how to create an industry that will be more inclusive, especially for women, people with disability, and for those who live in rural areas,” she said. “The government should also involve young people as thinking partners,” added Ari.

Research about Indonesia social enterprises profile that was carried out by the British Council and Economy and Social Commission of the United Nations (UN-ESCAP) in 2018, shows that the social enterprises contribute an estimated 1.9 percent of Indonesia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and able to employ communities that were excluded from the formal economy sector.

Camelia Harahap also responded positively on the discussion results that was elaborated by Group Capstone Economic Growth. “The British Council itself is indeed trying to find hybridity of social and creative enterprises, where aside from business aspects, those who are partaking in the industry should prioritise social and creative aspects. It is a challenge to find the right solution from the three aspects,” explained Camelia. “It needs further study or and understanding about social and creative entrepreneurships in schools or universities,” she added.

In addition, Camelia added that from marketing and sales aspects, there is a gap in the digital infrastructure and soft skills among social and creative enterprises in accessing domestic and international markets that still needs to be addressed.

Meanwhile, regarding funding, Ahmad Dading Gunadi mentioned that social and creative enterprises need to incorporate social and economic impact that are more specific to the investors. “For instance, it is not enough to only mention that the business is reducing the number of unemployed people. A creative and social enterprise needs to demonstrate other positive impacts that are more tangible, for example, advancing children’s education attainment, and other impacts, thereby investors could see the   social values of the enterprise,” he explained.

Think Policy is a group of young professionals and leaders committed to serve society, both the public or government sectors, businesses with social missions, as well as civil society organizations. Think Policy is focusing on a practical framework that builds creativity, analytical capacity and the ability to think strategically through evidence and empathy.

‘Policies for The Nation’ is a series of capstone-project research innovations that was carried out by the participants of Think Policy Bootcamp Vol.2 for “policy client” from the public and private sectors, one of them is British Council, by carrying the theme “Towards Sustainable, Fair, Prosperous, and High-Income Indonesia”.

More than 400 young professionals in public, private, and civil society sectors actively participated in the discussion by sharing information and questions during the ‘Policies for the Nation’ event through the chat column.

The ‘Developing Creative and Inclusive Economy: Indonesia Social Enterprises Profile’ study by the British Council and UN-ESCAP can be downloaded here.