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Paving their ways to online business: Story of two entrepreneurs with disabilities

Two entrepreneurs with disabilities participated in ILO online shopping business administration and training became more confident in transitioning to online business. These are their stories.

Feature | Jakarta, Indonesia | 26 November 2020
Rapid increase of technology has boosted online business growth. This growth has grown even more exponentially during COVID-19 pandemic period that hit the world this year including Indonesia. Online business is one of business gaining more opportunity in this period.

Annie Juwairiyah and Christianto Harsadi
This huge opportunity has motivated two entrepreneurs with disabilities—60-year-old Anni Juwairiyah, and 23-year-old Christianto Harsadi—to expand their businesses to online sphere. They were also two out of hundreds of participants of online shop administration training for small and medium enterprises organized by ILO through its Women in STEM Project between May and August this year.

Since the two entrepreneurs showed strong interest to participate in the training and develop their online shop administration, they were selected to attend the business mentorship program for two months (September-October) with professional business mentors from Clevio Coder Camp, ILO’s partner in this training.

Continuing family business venture

Anni Juwairiyah
For Anni, operating a business is nothing new. Her family has pioneered in textile and garment sector in Kebumen, Central Java since 1953. Having to inherited her family store “Toko Asri”, Anni has continued to maintain and develop this business by establishing a foundation in educational field.

However, a declining turnover, debt, and lack of discipline from their workers have overwhelmed Anni in maintaining her business. This condition was worsened by the pandemic. “I have a strong intention to maintain this business,” Anni said.

With the online system, I hope that I could attract the interest of younger generation in my family to continue this business."

Anni Juwairiyah
Therefore, she welcomed the opportunity to participate in the 6th batch of online shop administrative training last August. She was one the 19 participants with a disability. The youngest of six siblings contracted polio when she was two and has to use the wheelchair since. She is also active in the Indonesian Association of Persons with Disabilities (PPDI).

Anni improved her business skills when she participated in the individual mentoring programme. Using Canvas Business Model method, she learned how to map her business using nine key elements covering, among others, resources, product values, price and presentation, as well as customers’ segmentation.

She is now able to make a more structured plan and even asks her employees to be involved in the development of online business.

“All of the things that I had in mind are now translated into better priorities,” mentioned Anni in the interview, “the workers are very enthusiastic to work on this online selling.”

Anni also hopes that with the shift to online business, the 60-year-old family business could be passed on to the next generation. “With the online system, I hope that I could attract the interest of younger generation in my family to continue this business.”

Starting online business based on passion and competency

Christianto Harsadi
Meanwhile, Christianto Harsadi or known as Anto, has just started his photography business, “Antography”, after graduating from the 5th batch of online store administration training in July. He started to implement what he has learned during training.

Anto is quite well-known among the photographer’s community. As a deaf photographer, he was one of official photographers in the 2018 Asian Para Games. He became one of the contestants in cable tv show “Photo Face-Off”, a reality TV show about amateur photographers’ competition in Southeast Asia in 2016.

It turned out I have been doing personal branding when I decided to become a photographer and travelled to several cities. This helps my online business grows."

Christianto Harsadi
“With the discussion that I had with my mentors, I feel more confident in doing this business,” wrote Anto in his written statement, “I even want to open job opportunities for many people.”

Through the business mentoring program with 9 other participants, Anto strengthened his efforts in developing his online photography business. This intention became stronger when he participated in the personal branding session to improve his business image in a service field such as photography.

“It turned out I have been doing personal branding when I decided to become a photographer and travelled to several cities. This helps my online business grows,” shared Anto who also graduated from Visual Communication Design major of Dian Nuswantoro University in Semarang.

Three important lessons Anto learned during business mentoring session on personal branding are: skills, experiences, and attitudes. “These are the ones that shape one’s competency, and distinguish them from other people and other business. I continue to develop this.”

Women in STEM Workforce Readiness and Development Programme (2017-2020) funded by J.P. Morgan Chase Foundation, to provide women in Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines with non-technical and technical skills related to STEM, occupational skills and leadership.