by Kirsten Eldridge, Jolkona Volunteer
Our 16 social entrepreneurs in the Jolkona Catalyst program, a three-week mentor driven accelerator for founders from developing countries, will come from Bangladesh and Indonesia to Seattle next month. This three-week intensive program will allow them to further hone their business plans, learn how to tell their story, and gain new insights. We can’t wait to welcome them to our offices on October 25th!
Our next feature is Felecia, Co-founder of Marici, a company that is introducing the world to the beauty and sophistication of Indonesian designs in the form of handcrafted fashion accessories. Marici is fueled by a powerful mission to empower Indonesian women with new job skills and with safe and sustainable employment.
You can also register for our Jolkona Catalyst Showcase on November 11th in the beautiful, new Galvanize co-working space in historic Pioneer Square. Click here to RSVP!
Outside of this project and work, what else do you do for fun in your home country? What other passions do you have?
I enjoy traveling, reading books, and handcrafting. My passion is crafting—my mother taught me to make handcrafts when I was very young. I love to create beautiful things. I am also a part-time lectutrer in the Industrial Engineering Department at Petra Christian University Surabaya.
What inspired you to start this venture?
When we started 10 years ago, many Indonesian families lived marginally or even below poverty level. These economic conditions force families to live in bad conditions (malnutrition, children cannot go to school, bad health, non-hygienic housing, etc.). Women are forced to work to support their family’s needs because their husband’s income is not enough. Jobs in offices and factories also are not always available for women, therefore they are lured to work in prostitution (Surabaya has the biggest prostitution area in South East Asia) because it’s easier to get lots of money. But not all women want to do this, if they are given the chance they prefer to work from home while they educate their children and care for their family.
We (founder and co-founder) also have experienced our mothers having to work to support our family. It is difficult for the family but they manage to do it, therefore we want to help other women through our business. We want to give a chance for other women to earn extra income for the family, to be able to work from home while educating their children.
What is one obstacle you have faced in running your social business? How did you overcome this obstacle?
Finding women who want to work in the handcraft business, because these days people are looking for easy money. Handcrafting requires them to have the skill to work with details. We overcome this by giving them basic handcrafting skill training.
What are you looking forward to when you come to the United States for the Jolkona Catalyst program?
We are looking forward to learning how to have access and a network to reach more women, learning how to have a good system inside our business so it can support more women, and seeing other social venture programs which might be applicable in Indonesia.