Impact Accelerator Program Offers Lifeline for Female Fashion Entrepreneurs

Posted on July 10, 2018 by Patamar Capital

Venture capital firms Kinara Indonesia and Patamar Capital have returned with the third series of their Impact Accelerator Program, providing seed investment for four female entrepreneurs in Indonesia’s fashion industry.

The accelerator program is adopted from Village Capital’s peer selection and investment model. The four-month program comprises workshops and webinars to improve the brands’ business performance.

In the workshops, participants will learn how to refine their business model, create and manage their team, interact with customers, connect with investors and strengthen their business network.

The program is done in partnership with Investing in Women, an initiative from the Australian government. The main focus is on helping female Indonesian entrepreneurs scale up their business to become investment ready.

Ellen Nio from Patamar Capital said the program will help Indonesian female entrepreneurs to catch up with their male counterparts. According to a recent study by the firm, women in Indonesia are still being undervalued in the business sphere, especially in the fashion industry.

“There’s a gender bias in the market. When a market is dominated by women, its value is seen as lower,” Ellen said.

Indonesia’s fashion industry exports garments worth $40 trillion each year. And yet, many women in the industry still experience discrimination.

“Many women in the industry work more hours for less money. They’re often considered less skillful than their male counterparts. This is why it’s difficult for them to own their own business,” Ellen said.

Negative stereotypes of female entrepreneurs also stop them from earning extra capital to grow their business.

“There are more than 700 small and medium enterprises [SME] in Indonesia. Half of them are owned and led by women,” Ellen said. “We want to help these SMEs become investment ready.”

“The fashion industry keeps growing globally,” Ellen said. “Indonesia earns a revenue of $2,314 million from the industry each year.”

Around 1.3 million Indonesians work in garment factories and more work from home. Around 78 percent of them are female.

Another Patamar Capital study shows women are involved at every stage of the supply chain. And yet, in Southeast Asia women working in garment factories are often paid below legal wages.

Many of these workers earn only about $120 in basic wages per month, with an overtime fee of $5 to $6 per day.

Skilled women are usually employed in small dress shops as cutters and seamstresses. Some of them work as artists and designers in boutiques or fashion labels while highly skilled and trained women are involved in material sourcing, production and marketing.

“We hope IAP can convince its participants to offer fair compensation, reduce poverty, minimize destruction of the environment and maximize benefits for everyone in the supply chain,” Ellen said.

Read the full article on Jakarta Globe.

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