Jakarta Globe | Insight

A Business Is a Business, No Matter How Small

Most Indonesians earn their income from small businesses. This line of work absorbs nearly 90 percent of the country’s workforce but contributes only 50 percent of its GDP.

Small business owners also routinely face regulatory roadblocks in keeping their shops open, mostly in licensing, human resources, marketing and financing.

One of the most complained about regulatory roadblocks is the labyrinthine licensing process, made worse by a slow and inefficient bureaucracy.

Didi, the owner of a small furniture factory in Cakung, East Jakarta, said “The bureaucracy is still too rigid. It takes too long to get a permit that most businesses do away with it.”

In his case, it took him almost six months to get his furniture workshop licensed, and that was after paying a friend Rp 5 million ($375) to “speed up” the process.

A man sells kitchen utensils out of a van in Bintara near Bekasi, West Java, on Sept. 19. The man pays Rp 150,000 a month to a 'preman,' or tough guy, to reserve his spot. (JG Photo/Yudhi Sukma Wijaya)
A man sells kitchen utensils out of a van in Bintara near Bekasi, West Java, on Sept. 19. The man pays Rp 150,000 a month to a ‘preman,’ or tough guy, to reserve his spot. (JG Photo/Yudhi Sukma Wijaya)
A roadside green grocer in Bintara. (JG Photo/Yudhi Sukma Wijaya)
A roadside green grocer in Bintara. (JG Photo/Yudhi Sukma Wijaya)
Haggling is an art for roadside sellers like this one in Bintara. (JG Photo/Yudhi Sukma Wijaya)
Haggling is an art for roadside sellers like this one in Bintara. (JG Photo/Yudhi Sukma Wijaya)
A common sight all over Indonesia. A street vendor in Kuningan, Central Jakarta, has converted his scooter into a food truck. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
A common sight all over Indonesia. A street vendor in Kuningan, Central Jakarta, has converted his scooter into a food truck. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
A worker spraypaints mannequin parts in Cawang, East Jakarta, Sept. 11. This mannequin workshop only has eight staff. (JG Photo/Yudhi Sukma Wijaya)
A worker spraypaints mannequin parts in Cawang, East Jakarta, Sept. 11. This mannequin workshop only has eight staff. (JG Photo/Yudhi Sukma Wijaya)
A fruit van steals an ideal spot under a tree in Bekasi on Sept. 19. (JG Photo/Yudhi Sukma Wijaya)
A fruit van steals an ideal spot under a tree in Bekasi on Sept. 19. (JG Photo/Yudhi Sukma Wijaya)
A stall selling 'bubur ayam,' or chicken porridge, a breakfast staple for many Indonesians, in Bintara. (JG Photo/Yudhi Sukma Wijaya)
A stall selling ‘bubur ayam,’ or chicken porridge, a breakfast staple for many Indonesians, in Bintara. (JG Photo/Yudhi Sukma Wijaya)
Another stall selling 'soto,' or chicken soup, also a popular dish for breakfast. (JG Photo/Yudhi Sukma Wijaya)
Another stall selling ‘soto,’ or chicken soup, also a popular dish for breakfast. (JG Photo/Yudhi Sukma Wijaya)
Tiny chairs meant for kindergartens are sandpapered and painted at a warehouse in Cakung, East Jakarta, on Sept. 19. (JG Photo/Yudhi Sukma Wijaya)
Tiny chairs meant for kindergartens are sandpapered and painted at a warehouse in Cakung, East Jakarta, on Sept. 19. (JG Photo/Yudhi Sukma Wijaya)
NOVEMBER 2017
URBAN INNOVATION
OCTOBER 2017
REGULATORY REBOOT
AUGUST 2017
DEFENDING PANCASILA