Winnie's Story: Growing Small Business in Indonesia

Winnie runs a small business selling snacks and general goods at a kiosk in front of her house. Her husband is unemployed and her family depends solely on her income.

 After joining a savings group through Five Talents local partner, Winnie was able to increase her stock and introduce new products at her store including rice, mineral water, and cooking gas.

"The most notable assets I have now are the gas cylinders, as many as 7 gas cylinders [at a time]."

In the slums of Jakarta, almost no one cooks with electricity. There are few ovens, microwaves or stovetops. Instead, most families cook with firewood, charcoal, or kerosene, using stones or simple metal frames on the ground. These methods are very inefficient and all produce ash, soot, and harmful smoke. They can also lead to fires which spread quickly through the slum.

In contrast, liquified petroleum gas (LPG) is a clean and efficient cooking gas with the least greenhouse emission of any fossil fuel. Increasingly it is becoming an affordable option for families escaping poverty.

Winnie has a good profit margin on her gas sales and there is almost no one else in her neighborhood selling LPG. She is grateful that she now has access to very low interest loans and a growing savings. "I don't need to borrow from those loan sharks [anymore]," she says.

In some parts of Jakarta, lenders charge up to 800% annual interest. In contrast, members of Winnie's savings group have access to no-interest loans.

"I am happy to be a part of a savings group. Sometimes we share the story of life and exchange advice among us. I feel better inside when we can share to each other."

Learn more about Five Talents programs in Indonesia.