Our first five participants in Project Catalyst, Jolkona’s new accelerator for social entrepreneurs from developing countries, will come from Indonesia to Seattle in the next couple weeks. This 2-week intensive workshop will further hone their business plans, meet prospective investors and gain new insights. We can’t wait to welcome them to our offices on June 8!
Our second feature is Hendriyadi Bahtiar whose The Healthy Shredded Fish venture not only produces an Indonesian national snack, but is a campaign for healthier lifestyles. In addition, the project employs fishermen’s wives in coastal areas in South Sulawesi, increasing income and reducing poverty in the area.
Q: Outside of this project and work, what else do you do for fun in Indonesia? What other passions do you have?
Traveling and volunteering. When I was 18 years old, I decided to be a backpacker. Realizing the beautiful scene in Indonesia as archipelago country, I started to explore it: hiking, climbing, snorkeling and learning how to dive. In 2010, I had the chance to explore Indonesia through Sail Banda, a 30-days youth expedition with Indonesian Navy. This program gave me an enlightenment about the marine and coastal potential in Indonesia and it was a great chance to get a taste of our cultural diversity. In 2011, I chosen as facilitator for Sail Belitung to explore Sumatra Island for a month. Moreover, I love playing with kids and volunteering to raise update books for them. I enjoy writing and playing table tennis.
Q: So, what inspired you to start this venture?
Traveling taught me a lot and opened my mind act after seeing the coastal condition in all over Indonesia. Many people who live in coastal areas have a lot local resources but have poor education and economy. They have limited access to books and school facilities; they don’t have good packaging for products and they have limited market. So, after getting a scholarship for a short course in Iowa State University and joining Indonesia Canada Youth Exchange program, it motivated me and other alumni to take action. In 2012, we launched education program for the children through providing mini library named Sahabat Pulau and collaborate with Econantural Foundation to empower their mothers (fisherman’s wives) to create economic value through product diversification from fish such Shredded Fish, Snack Fish and Seaweed Snack.
Running the program really helped women in coastal areas to increase their quality of life. They are really happy because can help their husband to increase their family income. Beside that, they learned how to manage their money through financial literacy from the volunteers. In addition, while they work, their children have the chance to learn and play in mini library. We provide spot for children books and children games in production house and assist with volunteers. Some of their children get scholarship from our partners such Not Another Child scholarship program.
Q: What is one obstacle you have faced in running the program? How did you overcome it?
The main obstacle is volunteer management. In the first year, we have difficulties to find loyal and committed volunteers and staff. After a discussion with the board, we initiated Youth Volunteer Camp to spread the volunteerism virus and motivate them through sharing from experts. In this program, we talk about volunteerism, community empowerment, project management, social entrepreneurship, and fundraising. This was really effective and helped us sustain our venture.
Q: What are you looking forward to when you come to the United States as a part of Project Catalyst?
I would like to share the potential of people (women and youth) and local resources in coastal area in Indonesia. We need more youth that can be involved to maximize those potentials, especially in packaging, marketing and financial literacy. Furthermore, I am looking for a mentor that can help us improve the quality or level our ventures. Networking with social entrepreneurs, NGOs, donors will be valuable to accelarate the project and I hope those networks can help to give more impactful to the community after going back to Indonesia.
We are very excited to have Hendriyadi Bahtiar here in Seattle! If you are interested in helping these amazing entrepreneurs, Project Catalyst is recruiting for mentors, coaches and hosts! If you are available between June 8 and 22, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.