Today’s young people face an opportunity divide—a gap between those who have the access, skills and opportunities to be successful and those who do not. Closing the gap through entrepreneurship is one of the most important initiatives to secure the future of the Indonesian and global economies. According to Aprizal Kusai, Assistant Deputy of Human Resources, State Ministry of Cooperatives and SMEs, the ideal number of sustainable entrepreneurs for the country is a minimum of 2 percent of the population, or around 4.6 million people.

To discuss this issue, about 50,000 budding entrepreneurs from Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, Bekasi, Banten and West Java met in Jakarta’s Gelora Bung Karno Stadium. The gathering marks the third year of the National Entrepreneurship Movement. Held on 18 March, the event was hosted by the State Ministry of Cooperatives and SMEs, Republic of Indonesia, with the theme of Spirit of Global Entrepreneurship. The participants were honoured by the attendance of Dr Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of the Republic of Indonesia; Ani Yudhoyono, the First Lady; Joko Widodo, the Governor of Jakarta; 12 ministers, more than 10 ambassadors, and a number of members of Indonesia’s parliament.

At the Movement, Dr Akhtar Badshah, Senior Director of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Microsoft, announced the launch of the company’s YouthSpark programme for Indonesia and the programme’s endorsement from the State Ministry of Cooperatives and SMEs. He told the crowd that Microsoft has already reached 66 million young people globally through YouthSpark, providing them with valuable IT resources.

“In the next three years, the goal is to empower 300 million young entrepreneurs to make positive changes in their own world,” Dr Badshah said. He also described the programmes through which social entrepreneurs could achieve their dreams—such as Microsoft’s Imagine Cup, DreamSpark, BizPark and Microsoft Innovation Centers. 

Dr Badshah concluded with four critical steps to reach sustainable social entrepreneurship and to practice compassion in business: 

  1. Be unreasonable – Think big and set bold goals
  2. Learn – Ready yourself for continuous learning
  3. Fail – Plan for failure and setbacks to achieve success
  4. Impact – Drive social impact and good

The event was followed the next day by two Innovate for Good seminars. Facilitated by Dr Badshah, the sessions were attended by 150 guests including 75 young entrepreneurs, 10 media participants, officials from the State Ministry of Cooperatives and SMEs and SMESCO, as well as Veronica Colondam, CEO and Founder of YCAB Foundation. The lively discussions centred on how the Microsoft initiatives are helping entrepreneurs on the ground, as well as real stories of IT business people who have succeeded.

Andreas Diantoro, President Director, Microsoft Indonesia, said, “Our partnership with the State Ministry of Cooperatives and SMEs and bringing a senior leader from Microsoft such as Akhtar demonstrate our commitment to fulfil Microsoft’s mission to support Indonesian people, especially the younger generations, to develop their IT potential. Microsoft’s goal is to support the nation to become a knowledge-based society by 2025.”