- Mercy Corps Indonesia is implementing the Seed 4 Women Program through the support of the Citi Foundation. The program targets women run micro entrepreneurs so that they can better access digital based financial services.
- The Program is planned to be implemented for three years and reach 750 target beneficiaries, i.e., women entrepreneurs in small businesses (of which 20% are young women in Malang Regency and Malang City).
- The objective of the program is to increase business knowledge including business and financial management which leads to increased saving funds. More specifically, the purpose is to improve the business practices of these women entrepreneurs, creating 10% more jobs, and increase their profits by 15% through increased access to digital financial services and digital assistance in the 2021-2024 term.
- In addition, the SEED 4 Women Program also hopes that women entrepreneurs in small businesses actively use and utilize digital financial services through a network of agents, in this case, the Layanan Keuangan Tanpa Kantor (Laku Pandai) or Officeless Financial Services agent.
Citi Indonesia partners with Mercy Corps Indonesia to increase financial inclusion for women owned Micro Small and Medium Enterprises in Malang, particularly in accessing digital based financial services. Employing the name SEED 4 Women Program the program was launched by H.E. Drs. Teten Masduki, Minister of Cooperatives and SMEs, Batara Sianturi, CEO of Citi Indonesia dan Ade Soekadis, Executive Director of Mercy Corps Indonesia.
There are approximately 60 million businesses in Indonesia, of which 99% of them are Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) account for about 80% of the national employment and make an important contribution to the Indonesian economy. Based on a report from Bank Indonesia in 2018, 37 million MSEs or 60% of them are small businesses led by women.
Although the percentage is higher, based on the World Bank Global Index data in 2017, women’s access to financial inclusion is 7% lower than men, while according to data from the Global Woman Financial Literacy Index, women’s financial access in Indonesia is 4% lower than men.
Many things prevent women from achieving financial inclusion and access to financial services, including culture and institutions, low literacy and education levels, discriminatory laws and practices, and time constraints.
This lack of inclusion and access impede women’s participation in the economy, preventing them from improving their financial well-being, family and community well-being. Financial inclusion is very important not only for individuals, but also for a business to thrive. The use of digital financial services (offered by formal financial institutions) to women entrepreneurs in small businesses is also still very low.
The Government of Indonesia recognizes the importance of understanding the gender dimension of financial inclusion and has launched the National Strategy for Financial Inclusion. This strategy aims to address the gender gap by developing programs and interventions that specifically target women who do not own a bank account and do not have access to other banking services.