Jakarta, 30 July 2021 - Today, The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) with partners FMO, Visa Inc, the Government of Canada and Australia has announced ASYX Indonesia (ASYX) as one of the partners of the Women Enterprise Recovery Fund. ASYX will receive international support over the next twelve (12) months to roll out their innovations for 7,000 Indonesian Women MSME Entrepreneurs.
With this fund, ASYX will assist Indonesian women entrepreneurs in a business recovery and growth path using a number of digital and finance technologies. ASYX will work with local governments, SME incubators and accelerators, as well as industry association partners such as APINDO UKM Academy to roll out this program nation-wide starting August 2021.
"We are honored by the recognition and trust given to us. We have always believed that encouraging Indonesian MSMEs to move forward in challenging times such as this pandemic requires more effort, institutional strength and a supportive legal framework to be of real value," said Lishia Erza Budiman ASYX Group CEO.
"In Indonesia, the business population is dominated by micro-enterprises whose number in Indonesia exceeds 63 million units (98.7%), and the minority group of 1% is small (783,000) and medium (60,000) businesses. These businesses, particularly those led by women, can benefit more with better digital and financial literacy to develop their supply chain in order for them to recover and regain ground to establish a healthy business ecosystem." Lishia explained further.
This ASYX Initiative which falls under their current HOORI Scale Up program will be known as MELATI Nusantara. MELATI will provide various digital solutions, equipment and working capital financing, and training support to women-owned, managed or led MSMEs. The bigger goal of this program is to promote and upscale digitized Supply Chain Financing (SCF) solutions for firms in Indonesia particularly in the garment/fashion and agriculture industries. These industries are among the highest contributors to the national economy, both domestically and internationally.
While COVID-19 has impacted every economy in the Asia-Pacific region, the economic fallout for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) has been particularly devastating. It has led to declines in income and employment, and increased inequality and poverty rates. ESCAP estimates that the pandemic could push 150 million people into poverty in 2021, resulting in a significant regression in the progress made on the Sustainable Development Goals.
Women entrepreneurs have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, women entrepreneurs faced challenges relating to informality, ability to meet collateral requirements, small cash holdings with limited record keeping, and limited digital and financial literacy, all of which impacted their ability to access formal financial services. Since the pandemic, these challenges have been exacerbated and compounded with additional burdens such as added household care responsibilities.
"The pandemic has exposed the continuing inequalities in our region and laid bare the need to build back better with inclusivity, resilience and sustainability," said ESCAP Deputy Executive Secretary Kaveh Zahedi. "To achieve this, we must in particular bridge the digital and financial divides that women MSMEs face. ESCAP is proud to be collaborating with UNCDF, VISA, the Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank FMO and our financial partner the Government of Canada, to support such digital technology and digital finance solutions specifically for women entrepreneurs who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic."
Of the 83 applications received across the region, only 10 companies were announced as collaborators in Indonesia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Nepal and Vietnam.
UNCDF Executive Secretary Preeti Sinha, explained "The UN Capital Development Fund has a unique role to play in supporting innovative solutions that can support those most at risk of being left behind, notably women-owned and women-led enterprises in last mile markets. Digital transformation is essential to these enterprises' ability to rebound, recover, and become more resilient. We are proud to partner with ESCAP, Visa and FMO through the Women Enterprise Recovery Fund to support the development and expansion of digital solutions that alleviate the constraints suffered by women enterprises affected by the pandemic."
"Visa is committed to helping small and micro businesses thrive, and we believe in the power of women entrepreneurs to drive economies everywhere. In the wake of Covid-19, our focus on empowering and uplifting women is more important than ever as we seek ways to contribute to an equitable economic recovery. Alongside our global commitment to digitally enable 50 million SMBs by the end of 2023, we are privileged to be a partner in the WERF to advance digital solutions for women entrepreneurs in the region," said Nate Low, Senior Director, AP Social Impact, Visa.