Youth employment

Empowering Indonesian youth and refugee youth through social enterprises

As part of the ongoing livelihood skills for Indonesian youth and refugee youth, the ILO and UNHCR introduced the benefits of community-based social enterprises, supported by four social entrepreneurs.

News | Jakarta, Indonesia | 18 November 2019
Four social enterprises shared their business experiences: (From left to right) Ben Dobbs, Precious Plastic, Mardea Mumpuni, Precious One, M. Adhika Prakoso, Kopitul and Hartoyo, Srikendes
A group of 50 Indonesian youth and refugee youth enthusiastically took turn to visit four different tables arranged at each corner of Hall C of Atma Jaya University, Jakarta. At each table, they met with four different social entrepreneurs to further explore and learn from real experiences of these entrepreneurs on how to start a social enterprise, develop a good marketing strategy, manage the business and maintain as well as expand their business.

This is really a good opportunity for us to interact with a wider community of Indonesian youth and refugees. We can create new business opportunities that benefit us all."

Hartoyo, founder of Srikendes
Four social enterprises participated included: Srikendes (a ready-to-wear business for people with HIV, transgender persons and women victims of domestic violence), Precious One (a social enterprise for products made by people with disabilities), Precious Plastic (a plastic recycle programme for better environment) and Kopitul (a coffee shop business for promoting interactive engagement between people with disabilities and non-disabilities).

This interactive business workshop, held in the mid of November, titled “Empowering Community through Social Enterprises” was part of the ongoing livelihood training programmes for Indonesian youth and refugee youth since 2018, jointly held by the ILO and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Agency (UNHCR), with support from Atma Jaya University and Dompet Dhuafa. The programmes aim to support Indonesian youth and refugee youth with livelihood skills that will improve their self-reliance and livelihood.

Interactive learning sessions: The participants visited table of Precious One

Both ILO and UNCHR believe that social enterprise approach will create positive impacts for Indonesia and will provide a basis for economic empowerment for them."

Tendy Gunawan, the ILO’s programme officer for enterprise development
“Through this session, we aim to promote community-based social enterprises as a way to provide better access for marginalized community to employment and business. Both ILO and UNCHR believe that social enterprise approach will create positive impacts for Indonesia and will provide a basis for economic empowerment for them,” said Tendy Gunawan, the ILO’s programme officer for enterprise development.

To date, Indonesia as a home for more than 14,000 foreign refugees, including their young generations.

Introducing the benefits of social enterprises, Stephanie Arifin, founder of Social Enterprise Platform (PLUS), explained that social enterprises are businesses aimed to change the world for the better. “Just like traditional businesses, social enterprises aim to make profits but they reinvest and donate them to create positive social change in the communities,” she highlighted the importance of social enterprises.


People with disabilities still face similar challenges in accessing employment and business. Thus, we hope to build a good business that give benefits to the community."

M. Adhika Prakoso, founder of Kopitul
Therefore, she encouraged the participating youth to start their own social enterprises and to be connected with other existing social enterprises. “Our platform has developed partnerships with around 800 social enterprises. We also provides tools to develop sustainable social enterprises as our vision is to make all businesses as social enterprises,” told Stephanie.

“This is really a good opportunity for us to interact with a wider community of Indonesian youth and refugees. We can create new business opportunities that benefit us all,” said Hartoyo, founder of Srikendes.

Meanwhile, M. Adhika Prakoso, founder of Kopitul, welcomed the opportunity to share his vision on better interaction with people with disabilities and non-disabilities. “People with disabilities still face similar challenges in accessing employment and business. Thus, we hope to build a good business that give benefits to the community,” he said through his sign-language interpreter.

The interactive session with the youth participants
One of the refugee youth participants said that by learning from these social enterpreneurs, he hoped that he could open a new network and be involved in one of the community-based social enterprises. “I have been here for six years since I was 19 years old. I hope that I can use my talent in designing as a way to make a living together with Indonesian entrepreneurs,” he said.