Indonesian women exporters taking it one step at a time

When you live in Jakarta, Makassar or Banjarmasin, cities like Paris, Tokyo and Dubai seem like a world away.  And if you are a small business owner in Indonesia, finding buyers from these far away lands may seem like a daunting challenge indeed. TFO Canada is trying to offer some solutions to this perspective and it all starts by taking it one step at a time! With our “Ready to Export” (RTE) Training and Coaching Program, TFO Canada is helping Indonesian business women to prepare for international markets.

This 2-year program, initiated in 2010 by TFO Canada in collaboration with the Indonesia Export Training Centre (IETC), is helping women business owners to master the three stages of export preparation:

Stage 1: Preparing Your Business,
Stage 2: Market Development,
Stage 3: Entering the Market.

One such business owner is Irma Engelen. Her company, Irma Engelen Craft, produces unique home decor products made from mahogany seeds and other natural products. Through a combination of her creative designs and the  skilled craftsmanship of ten local artisans she was able to create a unique product line which attracted the attention of buyers from France, South Korea and Japan.

Having realized export sales on a smaller scale, the challenge that she faced was how to find distributors and generate larger orders. “I learned through the coaching program how to improve my marketing materials, develop an export costing and pricing strategy, and find unique ways of attracting distributors at trade fairs.”

As a new exporter, Irma is definitely on the right track and indicates she is much more confident, knowing that she can now count on occasional coaching sessions from IETC. The Coaching Program is also helping experienced exporters. Helda Dewi Damayanti of Safeline Indonesia established her snack food production business in 1994, and maintains a staff of 20 employees. Her first export sale occurred in 2005, following a trade mission to Toronto. She has since exported to Singapore and Japan.

“The most valuable thing I learned from the coaching program was about export procedures” stated Helda. I had previously been exporting indirectly through an agent, but now I am negotiating with retailers from Riyadh and Dubai and will be selling directly to them as well as to the airline industry. I would not have known how to export directly had it not been for this coaching program.”

The “Ready to Export” Coaching program is helping Indonesian business women through a series of practical exercises including: SWOT Analysis, Export Plans, Enhancing Marketing Materials, and Participating in Trade Fairs. According to Diane Girard, TFO Canada Associate on this project, “We are seeing very detailed export plans emerge.  One such Export Plan is from Rencana Bisnis International in Makassar, Indonesia. They have put the same kind of quality and effort into their Export Plan as they have put into the production of their delicious banana chips.

We are currently reviewing business plans from manufacturers of handbags, home decor products, agri-food products, jewellery and fashion accessories and many more. We are confident that many of the participants will become successful exporters.”

TFO Canada shares our Associate’s confidence in the program, in our partner IETC, and in the bright future for the exporting businesswomen of Indonesia.