Jakarta. Surabaya Mayor Tri Rismaharini said her goal is to empower local residents, she said at the Creativepreneur Corner 2017 talk show at Senayan City's The Hall in Jakarta on Saturday (04/02).
"What is important in developing a city is identifying the core problems. It doesn't only involve physical development but also empowering people and making them feel at home," Tri said.
"My biggest fear is Surabaya residents having to migrate out of the city because they don't feel at home," Tri said.
She also praised youth speakers at the event for making a difference in their communities.
"There is a lot to learn from them, so much inspiration of what the youth can do. If Indonesia has this kind of talk show in every corner of the country, there will be many more young people who come up with fresh ideas to contribute to their communities," Tri said.
Tri shared her stories, achievements and plans during her tenure as mayor, including the way she lowered the poverty rate to under 1 percent, thanks to her Economic Heroes program, which empowers thousands of women to be entrepreneurs and launch small and medium-sized enterprises.
Tri commended Kibar's efforts, a tech-startup ecosystem builder that produces and mentors startups, as well as France-based food retail group, Carrefour, for offering their assistace to startup business.
"We trained them not just to make products but also in terms of product design and distribution. Kibar has offered its assistance in terms of product design and Carrefour has offered its assistance with marketing. Now those heroes have their products displayed on the corner of every Carrefour in Surabaya," Tri said.
Currently there are around 5000 Economic Heroes groups, comprising of around 200,000 members. Tri also collaborated with the Financial Services Authority (OJK) to teach entrepeneurs about business.
"I remember the first day those women met me. They came to my office by becak [a three-wheeled rickshaw], but now they have their own cars," Tri said.
She also talked about her controversial decision to close the infamous Dolly red-light district in Surabaya.
"I closed down five other red-light districts before that, but I don't know why Dolly caused such a fuss," she said.
"I'm not a religious figure nor did I take that action based on religious teachings. I did that because of the children who had been exposed to prostitution since birth and considered it normal. A child as young as 14-year-old could already be a pimp back then," she said.
Many of the successful entrepreneurs in Surabaya come not only from small beginnings, but have also had to resort to prostitution and drugs.
Tri cited other improvements in Surabaya, such as the Smart City management system, enabling her to govern the city from afar and giving residents an opportunity to request or submit paperwork, such as birth certificates and doctor's prescriptions, online.
Using digitalized administrative processes, the Surabaya government managed to save Rp 19 billion ($1.43 million) in paper expenditure.
Tri also revealed a plan to build a disabled-friendly park in the Surabaya town hall, providing access as well as object sonification features for the visually impaired.