Making profits and contributing to the alleviation of social and environmental problems at the same time? This has long ceased to be a contradiction. Social entrepreneurship businesses now aim to combine entrepreneurial activities with a commitment to social responsibility and to the achievement of the United Nations (UN) sustainability goals, including poverty, health, education, empowerment and environment.
With this spirit in mind, Goethe-Institut Jakarta and two of Indonesia’s leading higher education institutions, BINUS University, and Atma Jaya Catholic University of Indonesia, have joined forces to organize a Social Entrepreneurship Hackathon. The four-day event was designed as a sprint competition that included students from both universities.
Why social entrepreneurship?“Social entrepreneurs combine commerce and social issues in a way that improves the lives of people and the welfare of societies. They do not measure their success in terms of profit alone, but rather they also aim at making improvements to the world,” explains Nico Sandfuchs, project manager at Goethe-Institut Jakarta.
Like other countries, Indonesia has committed itself to reaching the 17 goals and 169 targets listed in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN by the year 2030. The Indonesian government has already shown a strong commitment to the implementation of the SDGs. However, global goals cannot be achieved solely by relying on government efforts. “There is a vivid startup culture in Indonesia,” says Diah Wihardini, BINUS Global Director and one of the jurors at the hackathon. “Social entrepreneurship has great potential to contribute to the SDGs. Through this hackathon, we wanted to raise awareness about this potential and excite students for social startups.”
Social Entrepreneurship Hackathon: a meeting of minds and ideasThe Social Entrepreneurship Hackathon took place from 22 to 25 July 2019. Students from faculties such as Business Management, Marketing, and Informatics were selected to take part in the competition based on innovative business ideas that were submitted by the students through an open call.
During the event, the participants worked in interdisciplinary and intra-university groups on selected business ideas. Guided by senior mentors from both universities, the ideas were forged into mock-ups by the students and then presented to a jury of experts.
“Through this hackathon, we did not only want to develop theoretical models,” says Dr. Tommy N. Tanumihardja, Vice Rector of Unika Atma Jaya Jakarta. “We also expected the winners to test their models in real life and ideally to launch a startup.”
From incubator to reality
During the hackathon, three outstanding startup ideas were selected by a jury. For a period of six months, they are now included in an incubator program that will help them to eventually kick off.
One of the three projects included in the incubator is “Tumbas Sayur”, a platform that is designed to help local farmers to market their products directly to customers in Jakarta. “During our research, we found that more than 60 percent of the poor in Indonesia are farmers”, explain Dian Nurmalitasari, Prigitaningtyas Debora, Natasya Lukmana and Kenny during the final presentation of their social enterprise model. “The core of our idea is a platform that helps local farmers to generate more income. It also enables citizens to consciously buy local products to support farmers in their direct neighborhood.”
Another project selected for the incubator is focusing on urban gardening. Through their business, Ericko Octaviatio, Lionel Matthew Satria Nugroho and Muhammad Nur Ramadhan will not only provide small-scale private producers in Jakarta with the knowledge and equipment necessary to engage in hydroponics. “We have also developed a platform that will enable our producers to market their homegrown products to customers in their neighborhood as well as to supermarkets”.
A third project is focusing on strengthening sustainable tourism in the Mentawai Islands Regency. Atma Jaya student Fransiska Myrna has already visited the chain of islands off the western coast of Sumatra twice while doing social responsibility projects. “My visits have inspired me to come up with the idea for Rumah Mentawai, a sustainable travel agency that basically wants to help the local population grow economically while at the same time preserving local heritage as well as ecosystems”, says Fransiska Myrna. Together with her teammates, Gabrielle Lordes, Maulvi Zehra and Stanislaus Seanbert, she will now prepare to test her idea in reality.