Amisha Chalid, based in Jakarta, makes and sells made-to-measure wedding dresses. She has been in the industry for 13 years and her shop has received a constant stream of customers since opening three years ago. However, Amisha told our researchers that, along with marketing, one of the biggest challenges she faces is sourcing quality materials at affordable prices. Amisha wants to grow her business and compete with importers who offer wedding dresses at more competitive rates, but she needs information to help guide her in her efforts to lower her costs and expand her enterprise.
With women like Amisha in mind, we developed the mobile service, Usaha Wanita, which means “business women” in Indonesian, in partnership with the ExxonMobil Foundation, Nokia and Indosat. The service was based on in-depth research to determine the key barriers facing women entrepreneurs in Indonesia. Usaha Wanita was developed as a teaching tool to help women entrepreneurs overcome specific challenges by providing essential business tips and market information. It reached more than 14,000 women in Indonesia. The service was also tailored and delivered to women entrepreneurs in Nigeria and Tanzania, reaching more than 100,000 women in total. Usaha Wanita won the Best Consumer Service Innovation award at the Global Telecoms Business 2013 Awards.
In 2014, an independent evaluation of the Business Women service, conducted by Michigan State University, found that 90% of subscribers felt the service gave them “practical guidance” on making their businesses grow and offered an “inexpensive way to become better-informed businesswomen”.
In addition to the Business Women learning tool, we also provided hands-on business development support with our partner, Mercy Corps Indonesia, which delivered valuable training to build the business capacity of 2,000 women.
‘We are proud that Indosat’s Usaha Wanita service will deliver the latest life-enhancing mobile technology. The transformational Usaha Wanita service will help empower women in Indonesia, which is crucial for the society and economy to grow.’
– H.E. Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud Al-Thani, Chairman of Ooredoo
The ExxonMobil Foundation is the primary philanthropic arm of Exxon Mobil Corporation. Since 2005, the ExxonMobil Foundation has helped women in developing countries fulfil their economic potential and drive economic and social change in their communities. To date, it has invested nearly $100 million to help community-based and global partners implement programs directly benefiting tens of thousands of women in over 90 countries.
Indosat, an Ooredoo company, is the leading telecommunication and information operator in Indonesia. The company aims to provide and develop innovative and quality products, services and solutions that offer the best value to customers. Indosat has more than 55 million mobile customers through its brands IM3, Mentari and Matrix.
Mercy Corps is a global development organization with a worldwide team in 41 countries improving the lives of 19 million people. Mercy Corps helps people turn the crises they confront into the opportunities they deserve. Driven by local needs, our programmes provide communities with the tools and support they need to transform their own lives. Mercy Corps has worked in Indonesia for over 12 years and has in-depth knowledge of the country, including local customs, language and context which has been valuable to the development of the Usaha Wanita service.
Evaluating Our Business Women Service
Published: November 2014
Together with the ExxonMobil Foundation we have published a report, Evaluating Business Women, a Mobile Value Added Service for Women Entrepreneurs. The Business Women service was designed through a partnership with the ExxonMobil Foundation and Nokia to deliver business training specifically tailored for women entrepreneurs via SMS. Since it first launched in 2012, the service has reached over 100,000 women in Nigeria, Indonesia and Tanzania.