At least 5,000 visitors, many of them young people exploring prospects in the digital economy, flocked to a conference and exhibition held by Singapore-based online technology media company Tech in Asia in Jakarta on Tuesday and Wednesday. (JG Photo/Joy Muchtar)

Indonesian Millennials Bet Their Futures on the Digital Economy

OCTOBER 25, 2018

Jakarta. Digital disruption, startups and technology are apparently keywords millennials love and bet their futures on.

At least 5,000 visitors, many of them young people exploring prospects in the digital economy, flocked to a conference and exhibition held by Singapore-based online technology media company Tech in Asia in Jakarta on Tuesday and Wednesday.

A hundred invited speakers, including industry stakeholders, investors, entrepreneurs, top executives and media organizations, spoke during the two-day event.

The event also put Indonesia's ever-growing startup ecosystem in the spotlight.

Ian, 30, an enthusiastic visitor said he read about the event on Instagram and decided to attend because he plans to start an e-commerce business next year.

"I am looking for similar startups and investors as well. I think Indonesia has changed from the conventional era to the next one, which is digital. I am interested to join the wave," he told the Jakarta Globe.

Visitors were not only able to attend seminars of keynote speakers, but also network in the Startup Factory with 280 startups, and participate in roundtables and "speed dating," where hundreds of startup owners met with 65 venture capital firms.

Satisfied exhibitors said they learned a lot by participating in the event.

Millati, 24, who is involved ion OKHome Indonesia, a digital cleaning service startup, said her company is subscribed to Tech in Asia's website and attends the event every year.

"We have learned a lot of things, such as how startups get funds at first, getting partnerships, finance and marketing," she said.

OKHome offers its services to upper-class consumers and more specifically, expatriates.

Professionals shared tips and tricks during talks and discussions on four stages during the event, which took place at the Jakarta Convention Center.

Putra Setia Utama, chief operating officer of Tech in Asia Indonesia, said participants recognize the need for new insights in the digital economy.

One of the speakers, John Fitzpatrick, who heads the Google Cloud Startup Program in Asia Pacific, said a combination of various factors, such as a young population, 95 percent literary rate, 106 million smartphones in the market and the addition of 10 million people to the middle class every year, provide massive opportunities for Indonesia to grow its startup environment.

The event was also enlivened with a program called "Pitch Battle Arena," which was a competition for newcomer startups to pitch their ideas. A Singapore-based video platform beat five other competitors and pocketed the Rp 50 million ($3,300) grand prize.

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