In collaboration with KAGAMA (Gadjah Mada Alumni), the UGM Directorate of Community Service held an online seminar on business incubation and digitalization for MSME products to boost export opportunities, Saturday (5/6). Vice-Rector for Research and Community Service Ika Dewi Ana stated that UGM would continue to strengthen and support MSMEs, one of which was by enabling the university’s accredited laboratories to serve as product certification bodies. This year, UGM has established product certification bodies for salt, medical devices, agricultural machinery, bottled water and packaged food, and halal certification.
“It shows that all educational, teaching, and research activities at UGM closely involve community service to help Indonesia advance and achieve prosperity,” said Ika.
Minister of Cooperatives and SMEs Teten Masduki explained that currently, Indonesia had 12 million MSMEs joined digital platforms, having an increase of 4 million in the past year. In 2024, the government targeted around 30 million MSMEs to enter digital platforms.
“We are now working together with several parties, such as e-commerce companies and communities, to determine which MSMEs are ready to go digital. Depending on what they need, we will help them curate, improve, and enhance their branding,” said Teten.
According to him, national exports are currently going in the right direction. Compared to 2020, the value of Indonesia’s exports rose by 30.47 percent in March 2021. Of all export products, only 14 percent of them belong to MSME products. Given this relatively low contribution, the government aims to increase exports of MSME products by 21.6 percent by 2024. Teten added that MSMEs needed to digitize themselves to expand to the global market. Post-pandemic innovations and strategies were also necessary to help them thrive locally and globally.
Professor of the Faculty of Economics and Business Wihana Kirana Jaya believes that there should be a paradigm shift within the MSMEs, from an extractive economy to a more democratic one. A democratic economy provides more opportunities for people, enabling MSMEs to care for the community, build sustainability, prioritize labor over capital, and jointly manage the assets.
“MSMEs must follow trends in digital marketing, be creative in their businesses, create value, and cooperate well with existing marketplaces for foreign buying and selling transactions,” explained Wihana.
In addition, Professor of the Faculty of Engineering Alva Edy Tontowi encouraged MSMEs to keep innovating following the changing market and priority needs for goods and services due to the COVID-19 pandemic. MSMEs needed to adjust to the market. They must consider five things: compatibility of their products, quality, cost, timing, and quantity with the market. All must satisfy market needs.
“It requires great organization and management skills. Universities, polytechnics, and schools are among the alternatives to help MSMEs address such challenges,” said Alva.