Saurabh Lall

Guest Post: New Ventures Indonesia Launches IT Training Facility for SMEs

Information Technology (IT) has sped up the pace of globalization and transformed business practices world wide. In the past few years, the IFC, UNESCAP and UNDP have all cited the need for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries to adopt IT to create new business opportunities and remain competitive in the global environment. The appropriate use of IT can help SMEs cut costs by streamlining their internal processes, enable faster communication with their customers and help promote their products and services to a wider audience.

Despite the benefits that IT can provide, a UNESCAP report points out that most SMEs in developing countries of the Asia-Pacific region have been slow to adopt new technology. Entrepreneurs are often unfamiliar with computers and skeptical of the benefits IT can bring to their business operations. There is a general perception that IT can only benefit larger companies, and is not suited for SMEs. Even when entrepreneurs want to integrate IT into their businesses, they are often unsure of the most suitable and cost effective solutions for their business, and constrained by the limited IT literacy of their employees. Without appropriate training, SMEs in developing countries find it extremely difficult to incorporate IT into their core businesses.

Recognizing the lack of opportunities for IT education, New Ventures Indonesia has opened an IT training center for SMEs in Salatiga, Central Java. The center, which opened on February 11, 2009, was established as part of a grant from Hewlett-Packard. The facility is located in Satya Wacana University (UKSW) which will be responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the center.

The training facility will be used to provide not only IT training for environmentally sustainable and socially responsible SMEs but also guidance on practical business skills and know-how, such as financial management and marketing strategies. New Ventures Indonesia will conduct workshops for sustainable SMEs on these topics throughout the year. With this project, New Ventures hopes to encourage the adoption of Information Technology by sustainable small and medium enterprises in Indonesia, and to help these entrepreneurs achieve the maximum benefits from these technologies.