“Nokia Life helps me to get information easier… I have better knowledge on how to manage my finances and how to start my own business.”
College student Ibu Dewi Rahayu, from Indonesia’s rural East Java province, is one of more than 80 million people who have benefited from the Nokia Life experience.
Now, Nokia is pioneering a new service that aims to empower women entrepreneurs who are running, or hope to start, micro-businesses in Indonesia by providing free business advice and information through their mobile phones.
In partnership with the operator Indosat, part of the Qtel Group, and the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, Nokia are launching Usaha Wanita, which loosely translates in the local Bahasa language as ‘Business Women’.
The new service will be available through the Nokia Life+ web app. Nokia Life+ was launched in English this September to 18 countries around the world. The first two services offered were ‘Life Skills’ and ‘Live Healthy’, aimed at urban youth.
Usaha Wanita is designed specifically for the needs of Indonesian women entrepreneurs, recognising the crucial role they play in Indonesia’s economy.
Through Nokia Life+, Usaha Wanita will give thousands of women micro-entrepreneurs useful information in their local language on topics such as business management, banking, how to get a loan, customer service and marketing.
Interpersonal communication and other life skills are also part of Usaha Wanita, which is available exclusively to current Indosat customers. The service is being offered for free for the first 12 months, although data charges may apply.
The information for the service was developed with an NGO called the Foundation for Social Change.
The strength of micro-enterprises
Research conducted by the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women helped to inform and shape Usaha Wanita.
Published in May 2012, “Mobile Value Added Services: A Business Growth Opportunity for Women Entrepreneurs”, looked at Nigeria, Indonesia and Egypt and found that 98% of entrepreneurial activity is driven by micro-entrepreneurs, who have few employees and low capital.
Furthermore, the report also found that 88% of women entrepreneurs are willing to use mobile value-added services for their businesses, and 82% of them even said they would be willing pay for such value-added services.
At the launch of Usaha Wanita in Jakarta, Indonesia today, Cherie Blair said:
“Our research demonstrates the urgent need for the Usaha Wanita service, and we are delighted to be working with Indosat and Nokia on this project. Usaha Wanita furthers our commitment to empowering women entrepreneurs, in developing and emerging countries. We look forward to continuing to work with Qtel Group in developing services that address topics important to women.”
The recently launched Nokia Life+ web app complements its sister service Nokia Life, which utilises the power of SMS to provide localised life improvement information in areas such as health, education and agriculture. Subscribers in India, China, Indonesia and Nigeria have come to rely on Nokia Life services to help improve their lives and livelihood.
Another person that has been helped by Nokia Life is Ibu Hanna, from the Indonesian city of Bekasi. Just like Ibu Dewi Rahayu, she uses Nokia Life’s Info Wanita service, which is tailored specifically for women and more broadly focused on life skills, financial literacy, health and family.
Ibu Hanna is a busy teacher who works at two schools. With juggling her jobs and being an active member of a women’s group, Ibu Hanna says that a lack of time is the biggest challenge she has.
“I don’t have time to read the paper and watch TV. I reach home only at night. Nokia Life helps me to get useful information three times a week – especially health info and financial management and literacy because I didn’t have knowledge about financial management before.”
Good for entrepreneurs and society
Both these women, and thousands more like them, will now be able to use Usaha Wanita, through Nokia Life+, which is available on the Nokia Xpress Browser home page or as a download from the Nokia Store.
Usaha Wanita is supported by a wide range of Nokia Series 40 mobile phones and all Nokia Asha smartphones.
Jawahar Kanjilal, Global Head of Nokia Life Services, said:
“We are delighted to have co-created Usaha Wanita with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and Foundation for Social Change. Introducing it as a service on Nokia Life+ will enable Indonesian women entrepreneurs to have immediate access to information that will successfully enhance their business.”
Tailoring this service for women is especially pertinent, because their contributions benefit both the local community and the economy at large.
Jawahar told Conversations:
“The impact of women’s economic empowerment can’t be underestimated. That’s where the big lever comes in – empowerment helps individual women, their families and the wider community.”