Shinta took part in all three of our flagship programmes through our WEAVE initiative. She gained new insights and networks that supported her to her Indonesian honey business to the next level.
In any country, including Indonesia, it’s so important to support and provide opportunities for women entrepreneurs
Shinta Aviyani is an entrepreneur based in Jakarta, Indonesia. She co-founded her business Imago Raw Honey in 2018, which specialises in raw Indonesian forest honey. She is one of 12,000 women entrepreneurs in Vietnam and Indonesia trained through our WEAVE project with USAID, Qualcomm® Wireless Reach™, Kinara Indonesia and WISE Vietnam. Our programmes supported her to successfully adapt her business through the pandemic…
I’m Shinta. I’m from Bandung, Indonesia, and I’m an entrepreneur, a homemaker and I also have a little three-year-old too.
Before becoming an entrepreneur, I had studied accountancy and worked in a bank. Then, when my child was born in 2017, I decided to quit my job so that I could spend more time at home looking after my family. I didn’t want this to be all that I did, though, so I started selling honey as a home business.
Initially, we bought honey from producers and resold it to small or medium-sized companies. The business grew steadily and in 2019, we started receiving more and more requests from customers. We saw that the market was pretty strong, and so we decided to launch our own brand, Imago Raw Honey, with its own distinctive packaging. With our high-end brand image, we were able to market Imago honey to large companies, for them to have in their offices or use for corporate gifting.
Things were going well until early 2020, when corporates had to shrink their budgets due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We weren’t getting enough orders from companies anymore, so we had to rapidly switch to marketing the product directly to consumers.
At first we thought this would be pretty easy. We thought that the concept of selling would be the same, just to individuals instead of businesses, and that the only thing that would require effort would be to change our packaging. But there were tons of challenges. In fact, changing our market audience was like diving headfirst into the ocean.
The challenge of selling directly to consumers was that we had to maintain a steady flow of a lot of customers, and that there was a lot more competition from other brands. My husband and I found that however hard we worked, it wasn’t enough to be enthusiastic. We just didn’t have the necessary business knowledge to successfully compete, never mind growing the business.
My friends suggested that I apply to the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women’s WEAVE programme through Kinara Indonesia, so I did.
I was amazed at how easy it is to gain knowledge with just the touch of a finger on my cellphone. I had so many positive results from this training!
First of all, I downloaded the Foundation’s HerVenture business skills app. I was amazed at how easy it is to gain knowledge with just the touch of a finger on my cellphone. I had so many positive results from this training! Although my educational background is in finance, what I learned about financial management from the HerVenture app was a completely fresh perspective that was really useful for me in managing my business’s accounts.
I love that the app is free, and I often recommend it to friends who have businesses or want to start them. It’s so easy to use and it is designed for flexible learning in whatever time you have.
I also took part in the Road to Growth intensive business learning programme as part of the WEAVE initiative. I loved meeting new friends and participating in the different training. The coaches also provided some new insights, and I learned from the programme that it’s OK to do things one step at a time. I was also taught that to ensure your business growth is sustainable, it’s essential to map out and then follow your plan for how the business will grow, step by step. My favourite session was about leadership, and I learned how to become an inspiring leader so that my team can reach their full potential. I realised that my business needs more than a good leader, it needs a whole team giving their best.
Having a supportive network of leaders and peers was also really helpful throughout the training. I learned a lot from the supportive coaches on the Road to Growth programme, and from my friends’ experiences with their businesses.
Another part of the WEAVE initiative was that I worked with a mentor for six months as part of the Mentoring Women in Business programme. My mentor is very communicative and we had a good relationship. She always tries to give me practical insights and her input is very understandable.
My business has really been strengthened through these programmes. I now have a strong pitch deck, so that if I meet potential investors in the future, I can present Imago in an attractive way. Our digital presence is now much stronger too, because the digital marketing elements of the programmes taught me how to best represent my business and highlight our products, in line with current trends in online marketing.
I have learned that as a woman I have to proudly show my abilities in order for others to notice them. I am proud of my ability to take care of my family, but I’m also proud of everything I have achieved with Imago, as an entrepreneur.
In any country, including Indonesia, it’s so important to support and provide opportunities for women entrepreneurs. Women have so much more value than just taking care of the family. There are a lot of negative assumptions about us, but we have a lot of strength, and I see a lot of potential for women to develop as entrepreneurs given the right support.
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