Interview: Ir Ciputra
How can entrepreneurship contribute to solving unemployment issues in Indonesia?
IR CIPUTRA: With a growing population of 240m, approximately 30% of whom are under 15 years of age, unemployment is an issue that needs to be addressed without delay. Indonesian universities generate over 300,000 new graduates every year, creating a constant increase in the number of educated unemployed in the labour market. We need to develop innovation within our educational system and encourage entrepreneurial skills at schools. The current system is aimed towards training students to be employees as opposed to entrepreneurs; it is a means to obtain a job in a good company; in this way we are educated to be professional employees in search of the best job.
This is not the way to grow a nation, and this is why Indonesia needs more entrepreneurs who can actually create a company and generate jobs similar to what takes place in more developed countries. In 2012 for instance, the US will organise the 30th yearly conference for entrepreneurship educators. Meanwhile, the EU has conducted a systematic structured programme to integrate entrepreneurship education with its national curriculum since 2000. Developed countries are seriously preparing the future generation of entrepreneurs, and we should do the same.
How can Indonesian education adapt to effectively teach entrepreneurship?
CIPUTRA: To become an entrepreneur, there are three “L’s”: Lahir (origin), Lingkungan (environment) and Latihan (practice). The first refers to the origin of a person; someone who comes from a family of entrepreneurs will easily absorb and internalise the values of entrepreneurship. On the other hand, Lingkungan analyses the importance of a dynamic society in fostering the emergence of new entrepreneurs. The third “L”, latihan, is a deliberate and structured attempt to build the mindset and skills of the youngest generations and encourage them to perform entrepreneurial actions. In this last dimension the government and private educational institutions play a key role, since, in my opinion, few Indonesians are ever encouraged to become entrepreneurs.
From the day we are born we are told by our families that we have to become doctors, engineers or civil servants. In this way, environmental factors reward us for being conservative and not taking any chances.
We have therefore decided to create the Universitas Ciputra Entrepreneurship Centre (UCEC) to change these attitudes, since we strongly believe we can train Indonesians to be entrepreneurial.
What are the main barriers faced by young entrepreneurs when trying to put into practice their ideas and turn them into successful businesses?
CIPUTRA: The main challenge faced by most of our students is the creation of new ideas. Successful entrepreneurs need to innovate to provide the market with appealing new products or services. The right idea will always find financing. Moreover, we work together with three banks that are supporting students by financing their ideas and turning them into real businesses. The banks have allocated a sum of money for the students to provide loans and support their business. In our educational model, all that is required to turn a good idea into a successful business is talent, spirit and hard work.
Another important challenge is the lack of adequate teachers to educate students on how to become entrepreneurs. To alleviate this problem, we have created our own training centre at the UCEC. The training centre is designed to teach those who want to teach entrepreneurship. So far we have trained 3000 lecturers who will teach us spread entrepreneurial skills throughout Indonesia. In parallel to this programme, we send a number of educators every year to the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas, in the US, to learn how to teach entrepreneurship. This in turn increases the number of entrepreneurs in this country.
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