Strengthening Mother's Business by Increasing Mother's Business Literacy Through Education Program and Community

Company Background

Ibu Punya Mimpi, founded in April 2020, is the leading online learning platform tailored for mothers' needs and provides holistic support to mothers in Indonesia to achieve their sustainable business dream. Ibu Punya Mimpi has grown, reaching out to many mothers-entrepreneurs in Indonesia, empowering and facilitating their business through education and community. As a result of our educational platform, more than 2500 mothers have grown with us; they come from several provinces in Indonesia, spreading from Sumatra, Java, Bali, Kalimantan to Flores. In addition, more than 70 new small-medium mother-owned businesses have been raised. In 2023, we aim to reach more mothers in rural areas in Indonesia to have better business literacy to support the family financially and provide a self-actualization platform for mothers. We believe mothers who have a self-actualization platform will be happier and do better for their families.


The spread of COVID‑19 represents a public health crisis and an economic crisis (International Labour Organization, 2020). In Indonesia, the coronavirus had infected more than 4.1 million people since the first confirmed cases in March 2020. At least 137,000 people have died (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 2021). During the pandemic, many previously economically secure households in the middle of the income distribution have either become poor or are at risk of becoming poor. One in ten people in Indonesia today are living below the national poverty line. A collaborative survey conducted by UNICEF, UNDP, Prospera, and the SMERU Research to 12,216 nationally representative households across all 34 provinces in Indonesia in October and November 2020 found several keys. Two of them are related to how people try to support their families financially during pandemics. First, for many households, small businesses are an essential source of income. One-third of respondents had at least one household member running a business, and almost all of these businesses (87.5%) had been affected by the pandemic. Second, women, specifical mothers, were found to play an important role. Mothers were three times more likely to care for children than fathers: 71.5% of households. Also, more than half of the women engaged in paid work and business to support their families. Therefore, the Small-Medium Businesses (SMEs) owned by women, especially mothers, are essential for the people's economic system to reduce poverty problems, and its development can expand the monetary base. Thus, it can make a significant contribution to improving Indonesia's economic resilience (Fernanda Putri, Sinulingga, & Hidayati, 2020).

Mother-owned SMEs in Indonesia fact

The World Bank's Enterprise Survey in 2019 estimated that 43 percent of formal SMEs in Indonesia are women-owned. As in many other countries, in Indonesia' women tend to own smaller businesses. Applying the national definition of SMEs, the survey finds that women hold 52.9 percent of the microenterprises (International Finance Corporation (IFC), 2016). In line with the World Bank’s findings, women are more likely to be involved in early-stage (17.8%) entrepreneurial activity than men (17.6%) (i.e., either actively trying to get a business started or own a new business less than 42 months old). However, the condition changes somewhat when considering the percentage of the adult population with an established company (i.e., owning a business that has been in operation for more than 42 months); 18% men as established business owners (EBO) and 17.3% women (EBO). In this case, the male rate exceeds the female rate (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 2017). Several studies and reports found barriers for women to grow and the significant challenges facing women entrepreneurs, ranging from internal factors, policy to financial support.

Most entrepreneurs seem to have engaged in self-employment at the time of or shortly after their marriage. This paints a picture of most women entrepreneurs as opening a business around the time of their marriage, attempting multiple businesses over time, and eventually establishing a somewhat stable enterprise that contributes to their household, though doesn’t seem to grow significantly over time. (Women entrepreneurs Shared Prosperity - World Bank)

Internal and family Challenges

Compared to businesses owned by men, mothers-owned SMEs face constraints imposed by women's dual responsibility for the business on the one hand and family and household on the other. From the Independent Research and Advisory Indonesia (IRAI) survey in 2018, many women (42 percent) have started a small business to supplement their husbands' earnings. Therefore, they are content to remain small if they achieve that goal. Women also hold little economic decision-making power in the family. They typically defer to their husband on matters of business, and they often need their spouse's approval for any business-related decisions.

On the other hand, the culture's pressure corners mothers to prioritize family before themselves and business -- even when successful -- can deter women from investing time, effort, and money into their businesses. From Ibu Punya Mimpi's in- depth interviews with 30 mothers, we found that this dilemma impacts their confidence and motivation to focus on their self-growth and business. Besides family and internal difficulties, limited skill and knowledge about business also become a barrier for mothers to grow their business.

Financial Challenges

Other than the internal and family challenges, financial support is not sufficient to help mother- entrepreneurs to grow their business. Related to the financing problem, SMEs funding access to the bank where most business owners ask for a loan is limited. Collateral is one of the requirements that every bank has. The bank needs collateral to ensure that debtors cannot pay the loan back; the bank still has something to use to return their loss. Another problem with getting a loan from a bank is that there is no track record of the credit history of the SMEs. To tackle these obstacles, sometimes banks ask significant interest in return. SMEs in Indonesia are non-bankable and do not have collateral due to the small amount of money or assets; therefore, banks are reluctant to give loans to SMEs.

Access to startup capital can be a potential barrier for the success of a new venture. It could even prevent the establishment from getting off the ground to begin with. Since banks do not finance businesses that are younger than two or three years, start-ups have to be financed by savings or loans from relatives or friends. Lack of finance during the start-up phase of businesses was thus among the top three challenges that 44 percent of the respondents faced, second only to the difficulties in establishing clientele (43 percent). Difficulties in finding the right premises and staff as well as lack of self confidence were other significant challenges perceived slightly stronger by women than men entrepreneurs.

The Gap and opportunity

The gap between the importance of mothers-owned SMEs and the challenges that the mothers face should be addressed. If we could tighten the gap, the opportunity to help mothers feel empowered and help families in Indonesia have a better life would be bright. Education by focusing on mother’s business literacy can be the solution. ​​Eventhough literature reviews show considerable heterogeneity in the effectiveness of business-training programs (McKenzie and Woodruff, 2012). A recent study held in rural Mexico (Calderon, Cunha, and De Giorgi, 2019) found that basic business development training can significantly increase the performance of women-owned SMEs. The increase appears to be driven by a combination of higher revenues, more effective production costs, a change in the marketing strategy, and a more documented financial record. Furthermore, the knowledge gained through the training does not appear to fade over time, the positive effects persisting into the medium run.

In Indonesia, the demand for business development training or services is palpable. Unfortunately, most of the Business Development Service (BDS) is not mothers or even women-friendly. The World Bank Report (2016) found that women-mothers entrepreneurs ostensibly face some obstacles in running their businesses that men do not. For many mother-entrepreneurs, the top reported challenges they face are balancing duties in the home and those in their business. One of the mothers-entrepreneurs' needs is training with flexible hours to accommodate mothers and childcare services at training.

Moreover, from the report, The World Bank suggests that BDS providers incorporate 'soft skills knowledge and help mothers overcome women-specific needs and challenges as the support. Besides business-related knowledge, support and community are also essential elements to support mothers in becoming better entrepreneurs. Having social networks and peer support builds a stronger community between mothers to share problems, ideas, and information like lesson-learned, help each other develop knowledge and skills required to start-up and maintain the businesses, and market the products without expenses (Parlapiano and Cobe, 2007).

Therefore, Ibu Punya Mimpi will address the mothers-entrepreneurs' need to have a more robust and healthier business by developing tailored-curriculum business and self-growth training programs for mothers in Indonesia. The training will be called “Beasiswa Ibu Punya Mimpi”.

Objectives of the Project

Beasiswa Ibu Punya Mimpi aims to increase mothers' business literacy, self-growth, and business-support system. Moreover, this program is also a basis for the mothers to participate in the following program, which is an investment preparation program.

Beasiswa Ibu Punya Mimpi is a 7 weeks-virtual training program. Beasiswa Ibu Punya Mimpi is a 7 weeks-virtual training programs. The program is held four times a year. Each week, 15 selected mothers will learn about basic business knowledge ranging from business ideas creation and finalization, market research, marketing, to pitch the business. Besides business knowledge, mothers also learn about other skills to become better mother-entrepreneurs, such as time management and public speaking (details of the program will be in the following section).

Program Plan

More impact might be achieved by targeting those women entrepreneurs who are on an existing growth trajectory. These entrepreneurs are not likely to participate in lengthy training but might benefit from one-to-one consulting or mentorship services that can help them with specific challenges such as expanding into new markets, improving business practices, and connecting to global value chains. Women’s business incubators can be especially effective for women entrepreneurs, as a place where they can come together for peer-to-peer learning through mentorship and networking.(World Bank - shared prosperity - Page 86)


Start-up Assitance Program Report in Indonesia link

Why Women-Owned Businesses in Indonesia Stay Small link

Internet access of SMEs link

Role women in Development link

The impact of social media marketing for Indonesian SMEs sustainability: Lesson from Covid-19 pandemic link

Women Entrepreneurs in Indonesia link

Global Women Entrepreneurs’ Report 2018/2019 link

World Bank Golden Opportunity for Women’s SME in Indonesia link