Have you heard about Technopreneurship before? If you are from the western part of the world, it is OK if you never heard about it. According to oxforddictionaries.com this term is popular especially in South and South East Asia. Merriam-webster.com recorded that the first known use of the word was in 1987. The word “technopreneur” itself can be simplified as a person who sets up a business that involves technology in the business process.
Technopreneurship was the main theme for the second Alumni Swedia (Swedish Alumni) gathering in 2014. The gathering took place at HaloNiko Warung Buncit on Saturday, 26 April 2014. Two of our Swedish alumni shared their experience as technopreneurs.
The first guest speaker was Dessy Aliandrina who is an alumnna of Chalmers University of Technology. Dessy completed her PhD in New Zealand in 20012 and she has work abroad for various international companies. Dessy is currently working as a researcher at the Center for Technopreneurship and Innovation of Surya University Jakarta.
There is a mindset barrier for Indonesians to become technopreneurs according to Dessy’s research. These mindset usually stop them to start a business because they felt that they do not have enough startup capital, talent, network, and good mentor to support. Some of them are still not ready to take risk, still confuse what business to start, and even think that they do not have business skill at all.
Dessy started her business in 2000 and in 2007 she started community partnership business exporting palm oil’s shells, copra (dried coconut flesh), coconut oil, and bricket. She also started a community partnership in 2011 for areca nut. Dessy acknowledges that being a technopreneur is not easy as there are always risks. Her technopreneurship experience almost brought her to bankruptcy. She was cheated before, she also had to dealwith bureaucracy, but she believes that if we try our very best to do good for other, we will find a way to survive, and yes indeed she did!
The fact that Indonesia is the social media capital of the world is a great opportunity for Indonesians to start their business. Indonesia’s internet user grew from 2 million users in 2000 to over 55 million in 2012. Indonesia is Facebook 4th biggest market, Twitter’s no.3 most users and is predicted to have 145 million internet users by 2015. Therefore Dessy would encourage Indonesians to fully utilize these opportunity to market their products.
Ricky Ramdani, alumni of Chalmers University of Technology, also shared his experience being a technopreneur. His first start up company was Militech, a company that works in algae biotechnology. He has also established Kalamia (Karya Ilmiah) that deals with waste recovery. He is also currently planning to start a popular science magazine.
Similar to Dessy, Ricky also had to say “goodbye” to his savings in order to start a company. Many think that he was crazy but that was just a “glimpse” of challenges that a technopreneur has to deal with. Yet he said that being a technopreneur you have to be honest and believe in yourself. If it is something that you really want to do, then go for it. He also emphasizes in choosing the right team that shares the same values and vision with you. Patience is something that you will learn along the way.
Both Ricky and Dessy said that a technopreneur should dare to take risks. If you do not dare to take risk, then you are not a technopreneur, you are a seller. Despite of all the challenges being a technopreneur, Ricky and Dessy are hoping that there will be more Indonesian technepreneurs in the future. Well, after listening to your inspiring stories, we certainly hope the same too!
Besides listening to our 2 alumni about technopreneurship, the Alumni Swedia also launched its official website. With this website, we hope to share information about study in Sweden, living in Sweden, and also other future events. The website can be accessed at: http://alumniswedia.org