After returning to their homeland, many Indonesian workers have strong desire to become entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, the desire faces many obstacles. That was said by former Indonesian workers in Korea from Yogyakarta in a seminar entitled Developing Entrepreneurship and Entrepreneurship Spirit among Former Indonesian Workers in Korea recently at Centre for Asia Pacific Studies (PSAP) UGM. One of them, Imam Nahrawi, former migrant worker in South Korea, now became a successful entrepreneur in Lampung.
Imam admitted that after his hard work over the past two years as a factory worker in South Korea, he ventured to set up a building materials store. He also invested in rubber plantations and two roof-tile factories. "I also work on fattening goats and rearing of freshwater fish," he said.
Having capital of about 100 million rupiah from his "3D" (dirty- difficult-dangerous) work which is not liked by South Koreans, Imam Nahrawi’s assets continue to grow. Now his business increased his assets to 2.1 billion rupiah. He pioneered the business with his wife. He started from small business.
Now, with other former Indonesian workers in Korea, he pioneered expedition and property business. Imam’s success continues to be transmitted by sharing information and developing business insight. "I am in Lampung constantly trying to motivate and provide business guidance for other former Indonesian workers. Not only that, I also try to facilitate them to form business groups, such as cow and goat business groups and ‘cement social gathering' groups as the business capital of former Indonesian workers in Korea," he said.
In the seminar held by PSAP UGM and the Association of Former Indonesian Workers "PURNA JAYA", Imam said that many constraints are faced to be entrepreneurs. Some of these are change of lifestyle that becomes more consumptive, less use of the time abroad to learn to become entrepreneurs, lack of clear concept for managing the money, and forgetting to raise capital when working abroad.
Imam did not deny the fact that many Indonesian worker’s parents and family members were exploiting migrant workers by making them as "ATM" that could be withdrawn at any time. Support of all family members in managing migrant workers remittances becomes very crucial so that in turn these can be used as working capital. Therefore, the government is needed to intervene to provide training or home economics education. "The Association of Former Indonesian Migrant Workers and groups of former migrant workers are certainly very useful as a forum for sharing remittance management and entrepreneurial cooperation," Imam said.
Ratih Pratiwi Anwar, a researcher of PSAP UGM who focuses on research of Indonesian workers in South Korea, welcomed this activity. She hoped follow-up activities can emerge from her research, Transformation of Economy, Social, and Culture of Sending Indonesian Workers to South Korea in Yogyakarta. PSAP UGM is expected to continue facilitating the Association of Indonesian Former Migrant Workers in Korea in sharing information among members.
In addition, they will be assisted to access programs of community economic empowerment in government agencies and establish networks with Indonesian workers communities and institutions that focus on issues of former Indonesian workers. "Certainly, all of these associations can be found on Facebook," Ratih said.