Field Notes: Jogja

Jogja Digital Valley is a free community and co-working space that started in Jakarta, later expanded to Sulawesi, and now in Yogyakarta.
  • Jogja and Bandung are where entrepreneurs come to get their education before they are ready to play with the “big wigs” of Jakarta.

  • Talent isn't an issue here - there are over 50 universities in the area so there is a strong pool of innovation and research. However, there's a gap between what engineers learn in university and the skills they need to be successful in the real world.

  • There's a lack of wildly successful companies and entrepreneurial leaders, so many entrepreneurs resort to online resources like Youtube to learn how to scale their businesses.

  • There is not much government help in the form of tax benefits or ease of incorporation for entrepreneurs; almost all of the encouragement comes from the private sector.

5 biggest challenges for Jogjakarta

1) Talent and fit for the market - A few big startups tried to set up offices but had to invest significantly more to train people since the talent level is not there.
2) Funding is sourced from private corporations, especially those that have a connected web of hyper-localized retailers and distributors. There are little to no angel investors and VC funds local to the Jogja region. Most investors are centralized in Jakarta and occasionally travel here. 
3) No clear role models or frameworks - they've tried to implement Lean Startup model but need to modify and localise. 
4) Lack of structure and organisation e.g. project management and funding/pitching models among startup founders.
5) Lack of success stories that encourage and motivate entrepreneurs. GoJek and TraveLoka are some of Indonesia’s most successful startups, but they are mainly centered in Jakarta. 

Ways to Help

  • Product and program management workshops in Yogyakarta

  • Better visibility of Jogja-based startups among VCs and angel investors across Indonesia