Creating a social change through entrepreneurship

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In 2017 for the first time, the Atma Jaya Catholic University (ACU) held an event called ‘Social Entrepreneurship (SE) Marketplace’. After successfully holding this event, in 2018 the ACU held the same event entitled ‘SE Marketplace 2018’ emphasizing three fundamental values, namely Innovative, Interact, and Influence (abbreviated I3). The event took place in two days on October 16 and 17, 2018 in Yustinus Building 14th floor, Semanggi Campus 1, ACU.

The concept of Social Entrepreneurship itself refers to how a company or a business should not focus on making profit only, but also prioritize the social values. A company prioritizing the social values means it is aware of the surrounding social problems and it makes use of principles of entrepreneurship to regulate, to create, and to enable social changes.

The SE Marketplace 2018 was attended by 25 participants which were classified into categories, namely environment, social development, and health. Similar to the previous SE Marketplace 2017, the fundamental value emphasized in this event was still the same, namely Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Consequently, all ideas, designs, products, and services presented in the event should be able to be implemented in the SDGs and I3 values. It is hoped that this event can turn someone into becoming an entrepreneur who believes in social caring in line with the core values of ACU.

In addition to 25 participants, the event was attended by eight companies which presented their involvement in social caring and SDGs. Through this event, ACU gathered together social entrepreneurs—lecturers, students, alumni, and ACU centers of studies—that had programs, ideas, or innovation—to identify solutions to social problems and to provide help to social entrepreneurs who had problems with funding, facilities, resources, and media of promotion.

One of the requirements for participation in the SE Marketplace event was that a would-be participant had to submit a proposal outlining an idea or a program that provided a solution to the social problem that was in line with sustainable development. The RWH program, which targetted the low-income residents of an apartment in Muara Karang, also indirectly supported SDGs in areas such as education, women empowerment through the learning center, and garbage bank. The event also presented ornamental flowers, a product made from unused flowers.

One of the participants of the SE Marketplace 2018 event was Hermawan. He is an alumnus of the Faculty of Biotechnology, ACU. In this event, he introduced two types of innovation: Lafidelite.id and Flowers of Hope (FoH). Lafidelite.id is a profit-based organization formed by Hermawan and his friends. This organization produces a variety of ornamental flowers made from unused flowers preserved using a certain method and technology so that they can be used for a period of time.

“FoH is a product that is meant for social reasons such as helping local farmers. In addition, FoH can also reduce garbage and excessive use of water. This product uses technology and certain formulae and therefore makes it a highly competitive product,” said Hermawan.

Hermawan and his friends have conducted their research for two years now. In the beginning, they planned to introduce FoH first, and later Lafidelite.id for the overseas market. Amazingly they conducted all their research in their own biotechnology laboratory.

However, Hermawan and his friends are still confronted with financial problems. Hermawan said that it takes three weeks to preserve fresh flowers. The level of difficulty of the preservation process is quite high and this makes the preserved flowers costly. “We try our best to reduce the sales price in order to able to compete with imported preserved flowers when our production line has run well,” stated Hermawan.

They collect the used flowers from Pasar Bunga Rawa Belong (Rawa Belong Flower Market) and select the ones with good quality. They also work together with several big flower distributors, namely Agronas, Bromelia, Sabana Florist, and Hotel Ayla Jakarta.

From the perspective of social entrepreneurship, because of FoH there exist now communities in Pasar Rawa Belong that collect used flowers and recycle them so that they can be sold again. The FoH program also provides high-quality seeds for local farmers in Lembang to enable them to produce flowers with import quality. However, to be able to do this, they have to wait for the availability of the seeds for one year. This means if the seeds are not available, the farmers will not be able to have income for one year.

Now Hermawan and his friends hope to have support in the form of funding to run their projects. They also hope to be able to work together with local farmers in Indonesia when they develop their environment-friendly preserved flower products.