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From Dream to Reality: Empowering Indonesian Women Entrepreneurs for a Stronger Society

This report is a collaborative effort by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Stellar Women,  a community dedicated to supporting and connecting empowered women in  Indonesia. Through programs, mentorship, online courses, and forums, Stellar Women has  empowered over 30,000 women, fostering success and personal growth. This partnership underscores our commitment to advancing the cause of women’s empowerment and gender equality at workplaces. 

To capture the reality of women-owned micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), we e-draw from on-ground data from both conducting multiple interviews and distributing survey to more than 500 women entrepreneurs representing diverse backgrounds from various regions across Indonesia. These insights will reveal the distinctive challenges and opportunities, examine current trends, emerging technologies, and their future implications. 

Indonesia is home to a rising number of self-entrepreneurs. 

With more than 65 million MSME entities in Indonesia, this sector contributes to 60% of the national GDP, equal to IDR 9.6 trillion. Within this dynamic landscape, women-owned MSMEs constitute a substantial segment of the business landscape, amounting to 64.5% of total MSMEs.

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Nicole Jizhar, founder of Nona Woman, shared, “At the end of the day, securing capital is crucial to grow a business but can be particularly challenging for female entrepreneurs, who often face disparities in doing so compared to our male counterparts. For Nona, we obtained some grant money early on from several start up competitions to help us get off the ground. While VC funding seemed attractive, we saw some disadvantages (especially for women) such as giving up control and decreased flexibility to juggle other commitments. It becomes tougher when competitors receive funding, making them able to be more aggressive compared to startups that bootstrap. Exploring alternative types of funding (e.g. angel investors, bank loans, etc.) would be beneficial for entrepreneurs, but it must be paired with clear information on what the available sources were, how to pick the most suitable ones, and how to successfully secure it to grow the business.”

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More than half of the WSMEs surveyed highlighted the difficulty in accessing mentors and support communities for sharing experiences and resources. The need to provide access to connection is more pressing in the women-led MSME landscape as these entrepreneurs lack a formal platform with which they can connect with fellow women entrepreneurs. According to APEC Networks, 34% of women never interacting with business associations, compared to 26% of men. 

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A significant challenge for MSME owners is securing resources, particularly financing, and navigating unclear regulations. This is not only true for women entrepreneurs in our survey, but globally as well. Global estimates suggest that 72% of men own account at a financial institution or with a mobile money service provider compared to 65% of women, leading to an estimated USD 1.5 trillion in financing deficits faced by women.


Laras Anggraini, founder of Smitten by Pattern, shared her perspective on the matter. “Maybe if I were a man, when there were certain challenges, I could’ve easily found mentors and other support to get back on my feet. But as a mother and wife, it seems harder to get that kind of support. The emotional support needs to be doubled. We must have a support system that is very, very strong to be able to push us back on the right track.

Government interventions are crucial for supporting women-owned MSMEs.

Government and private sectors have the power to address unique challenges to bridge women entrepreneurs in accessing financing and market opportunities. Therefore, create an enabling environment for women in business bring new ideas and play a big part in growing the economy.

The empowerment of women and the pursuit of gender parity are not just noble goals but essential drivers of societal progress and economic prosperity.

This report serves as a guide, illuminating the path forward for industry leaders, policymakers, and the women entrepreneurs themselves

Read The Full White Paper!

Read Their Entrepreneurship Stories

Boston Consulting Group is a global consulting firm that partners with leaders in business and society to tackle their most important challenges and capture their greatest opportunities. Their success depends on a spirit of deep collaboration and a global community of diverse individuals determined to make the world and each other better every day.


Stellar Women is a community for ambitious women who aim to grow together. Stellar Women is here to support you in developing your potential to become the best version of yourself and to connect you with other great women!


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