Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Risma Introduces PENA Program at OECD Forum

April 10, 2023 | 11:29 pm
Social Affairs Minister Tri Rismaharini addresses an OECD forum via video conference from her office in Jakarta on April 5, 2023. (Handout)
Social Affairs Minister Tri Rismaharini addresses an OECD forum via video conference from her office in Jakarta on April 5, 2023. (Handout)

Jakarta. Social Affairs Minister Tri Rismaharini, better known as Risma, introduced the National Economic Hero Program (PENA) which aims to overcome poverty during a recent forum organized by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. 

The PENA is inspired by the successful poverty alleviation policy adopted by the city of Surabaya in 2010 when Risma was the mayor.

She is now implementing the same policy at the national level.

"This approach was duplicated and modified for a national program called PENA," Risma said during a conference titled "Startup Asia: Chasing the Innovation Frontier – The Case of Indonesia" via a video conference in Jakarta.

The PENA provides training and mentoring for capacity building to create entrepreneurship among beneficiaries.
"When I started, the poverty rate in Surabaya reached 14 percent. This program was taken as a milestone,” she said. 

When she began implementing the program in Surabaya in 2010, it reached only 86 women from the suburban areas of the East Java capital.
During her ten-year tenure, the number of participants soared to 12,382. Some of the participants were so successful that they become billionaires. Most importantly, the city’s poverty rate dropped dramatically to just 5 percent by the time Risma left the city for the ministerial job.
Soon as a minister, Risma upgraded the policy into PENA, which trains the poor and vulnerable groups to become entrepreneurs. It targets the beneficiaries of the central government’s social assistance program and assists them to start their own businesses. 

The PENA provides capital assistance according to the business plan of the beneficiaries.
"Last year, we started with 5,209 families and we plan to expand further to 7,500 families for this year," Risma said.
PENA beneficiaries are selected based on productive age groups and business plans. They are required to submit ideas or business plans during the selection process. If accepted, any recipient will get the full benefits of PENA in the form of capital and business consulting.

"All PENA beneficiaries are given access to weekly sessions with mentors who assist them in product development, digital marketing, and financial management," Risma said.

Furthermore, the Social Affairs Ministry also encourages inclusive economic empowerment by using PENA to reach persons with disabilities, the homeless, and even beggars.

“I believe that everyone deserves a better future and has the potential to pull themselves off poverty," she said.

During the forum, OECD Development Center Director Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir said that the organization considers Indonesia as a top priority on the development agenda.

Árnadóttir said the case in Indonesia proves that entrepreneurship is the key to increasing economic growth.

Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno told the same forum that building startups not only generates positive economic impacts but also provides additional social and environmental benefits. 

European Union Ambassador to Indonesia Vincent Piket praised the rapid growth of startups in Indonesia and the government’s efforts to increase the income of poor families by providing access to technology and various services.

"Thank you to Minister of Social Affairs Tri Rismaharini for continuing to support entrepreneurship for vulnerable groups and persons with disabilities. This can certainly be used as an example for other countries in making micro business units, new startups for the poor communities to become empowered and independent," he said.

Annalisa Primi, the Head of OECD’s Development and Economic Transformation, also expressed her appreciation for what Risma has done so far.

"Thank you, Minister Risma, for the real efforts to form micro-inclusive entrepreneurship to help the poor become prosperous. Good practices that other stakeholders can emulate," she said.

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