In this article, Dyah Ayu Permatasari (a Master of Management – Business/Commerce graduate from The University of Melbourne) shared her valuable experience in developing LatihID, an e-platform that focuses on empowering Indonesian Small and Medium Enterprises.
As I officially completed my master’s study and closed my Melbourne chapter, I would like to reflect on what becomes my special highlight this year.
I came to Melbourne for the first time in 2012 for a short exchange program when I was in high school. Ever since that time, Melbourne has been a memorable place for me and somehow has inspired me to apply for a scholarship there. With all the effort, I was fortunate to begin my master’s journey in early 2019. During the first year, I was so excited about all the experiences I gained. I joined volunteering activities, case competitions, leadership programs, and other activities to improve my skill and personal development. I was so lucky to meet so many incredible people that I will always be grateful for.
As we know, 2020 hit us a lot. I believe that it has been a long and challenging journey for everyone. At the beginning of the year, I was so delighted with all things that I could explore in my second year. However, this unfortunate situation forced me to release my part-time job at the university and just studied at home following months of lockdown. I thought that this year would be the worst. In fact, I believe I have learned so much and grown a lot as a person. Regarding this, LatihID has become one of the best parts for me this year.
In February 2020, two of my best friends, Yulisyah Putri Daulay (Monash University) and Muhammad Nabil Satria Faradis (The University of Melbourne), told me about their fantastic idea. I have known them for a while, and I always feel astonished by their outstanding achievements. At that time, they pitched about LatihID, a social project which provides a free and high-quality online learning platform for Indonesian Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
The idea comes from the concern that currently, there is not much available platform that is affordable and suits Indonesian SMEs’ profile. Furthermore, LatihID also aims to motivate young people who are eager to start their own business.
Since it is aligned with my purpose, I said yes to the offer of joining the project. We started from a small team, including my other University of Melbourne best friends, Santika Wibowo and Muhammad Ersan Ramadhan, as well as our junior during the undergraduate degree, Rischa Agustina. We developed LatihID from scratch, including the concept, the website system, and the product itself. I still remembered our first, one-and-only face-to-face meeting at the university, before our endless online meetings due to the lockdown situation.
Initially, LatihID was supported by a grant from YSEALI Seeds from the US Department of State, The University of Melbourne, and Climate Reality Australia. To secure our funding, we then applied for more business competitions and grants. Development Phase Along the way, we recruited more people to join the team. Since the beginning, all of us have worked remotely on a part-time basis from both Australia and Indonesia. I have not even met most of them in person up to now. Asides from our study and work, we devoted our time to build LatihID.
Currently, we have three main programs. Firstly, LatihID Module which provides theoretical business knowledge with case study and quiz. Secondly, LatihID Talks, a live webinar featuring business practitioners. In this webinar, the participants can actively interact with the speaker through a Q&A session. Lastly, LatihID PETA (Pojok Cerita) features entrepreneurs who share their expertise through a short video on our social media. We tried to tailor the needs of Indonesian SMEs by offering a range of business topics on our content.
Furthermore, we also create LatihID MAJU, an online community that enables people who have a business or want to start a business to interact with each other and share their experiences. We provide several community programs, which hopefully can help them navigate the learning and broaden the network.
Through LatihID, I feel very proud that we can encourage more people to contribute to developing Indonesian SMEs. In the July – August 2020 period, we had 40 Indonesian student-interns from various universities with such a massive number of applicants. As a team, LatihID and the interns worked together to improve our platform. With more development going on, we still recruit interns based on the needs.
Up to now, LatihID has reached about 5700 users from all over Indonesia. We have featured many inspiring entrepreneurs and business experts on our modules, webinars, and videos. We also created a joint event with several partners, such as Kalimantan Prima Persada, Universitas Sanata Dharma, Apiary, and Jesuit Refugee Service, to broaden our impact. Currently, with 20 people on the team, we are still developing our platform. Our current achievement may be yet far from perfect. However, we will always strive to do our best.
Although I could not obtain the most of my study and Melbourne experience, developing LatihID has genuinely become my highlight of this year. I have never thought that staying still at home and having endless online meetings to develop this project could be something that motivates me to survive this year. I have never thought that working with someone I have never really met in person could be that exciting. I feel very proud of what we have reached so far as a team with all the limitations.
Through LatihID, I can forward what I have fortunately got, in terms of knowledge, skill, and experience, to a broader community. Being away from home definitely does not mean that we could not contribute something to our beloved country. We can find the way as long as we are open to the opportunities and always learn to develop ourselves. In our case, we neither always succeed in applying for the grants nor always receive positive feedback from our users. The thing is how willing we are to improve and learn from the mistakes continuously.
Editor: Yogi Saputra Mahmud