Inspiring Entrepreneurs
    Category: Column By : Terry Farris Read : 899 Date : Thursday, August 11, 2016 - 07:58:00

    Most people around the world do not realize that the cradle of the microfinance revolution began in Indonesia. It was the husband and wife team of I Gusti Made Oka and Sri Adnyani Oka who started to give out small loans to friends and others in Bali. Realizing that there was great demand for their informal commercial loans, the Okas, in spite of their scant knowledge or understanding of traditional banking methods, opened the first microfinance bank in Asia called Bank Dagang Bali (BDB) in 1970. With this crucial move, I Gusti and Sri Adnyami set about impacting the lives of thousands of families for the next 25 years.

    The Okas were among the very first social innovators in Asia. They shared their experience and knowledge around the world and taught other celebrated social innovators like Muhammad Yunus how to launch microfinance throughout the region. BDB remains the longest-serving formal sector financial institution providing commercial microfinance on a substantial scale in a developing country.

    The incredible passion for giving back and making an impact has continued in the Oka family. Today, Gungde Oka, one of the sons of Pak I Gusti Made Oka along with James Budiono, Mohamad Faisal Badroen, and myself have recently launched the Bali Center for Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation.

    The vision is to increase the quality of life for those Indonesians who are living at the bottom of the socioeconomic pyramid by providing mentorship and support for startups; connecting and building a stronger entrepreneurship ecosystem that will help them better support their families. Among the initiatives of the center will be developing advisory and online services to support Indonesian entrepreneurs, as well as incubators and investment funds to develop their firms. The center also intends to hold events to promote Indonesian entrepreneurship and promote awareness both locally and globally of this issue.

    One focus of the Bali center has been to help fund farmers and fish farmers, providing them with funding to improve their crops and fish farms. The Bali center also ensures that they have access to markets where they can sell their produce and fish at fair market prices thereby ensuring that they can continue to build sustainable farming and fishing, and support their families. This has the potential to raise productivity and income.

    Indonesia has the fourth largest population in the world. If we can bring the key philanthropist and social innovators together in Indonesia we can change the lives of hundreds of millions of people. Like the Okas, let’s continues the revolution against poverty and work together to make a positive impact across Indonesia.