Indonesia is a rich country. Everyone knows it. That’s the truth. Indonesia has everything that other countries may not have. We have rich and beautiful oceans and mountains, lush forests and colorful beaches as well as high valuable minerals such as, gold, silver, metal, nickel, copper and tins, and last but not least oil, gas, geothermal, coconuts, woods, spices, handicrafts and arts, and many others. This essay will need more pages to mention all of it! We are effortlessly blessed by having such a great numbers of natural resources. Unfortunately we are not that rich.
We have observed undeveloped regions in remote areas, millions of unemployed citizens, and so on. Poor people around the corners are begging for spare change. Many of them live in housing areas without clean and fresh water and proper sanitation facilities. We export unskilled workers rather than commodities. Activist calls it “human trafficking”, yet economist may call it “supply meets demand”. Economic breakthrough can’t be done by only involving foreign investment in Indonesia. For example, we all know that Indonesia only receives 1% royalty from one of the world richest gold mine in Papua for almost half a century. This really breaks my heart knowing that our resources are being exploited yet enriching other foreign countries rather than ours. We ought to have our own private company taking control over Indonesia; we need to take back our money into our own pocket. In my opinion, for a better Indonesia, we must sprout a lot of entrepreneurs who will give a wide range of job opportunities and motivate others to be entrepreneurs in Indonesia.
The unemployment issue can’t be solved via higher education alone. Most of those educated people are still struggling to get a decent job rather than creating it. David McClelland said that if a country has 2% entrepreneurs from its population it will create strong economics for that country. Indonesia only has 0.24% of entrepreneurs. This number is a small number compared to United States (10%), Singapore (7%), or even Malaysia (5%). Lack of job opportunity can be solved easily by creating new job opportunity which can be done by the entrepreneurs.
Let’s talk with numbers: a fresh graduate decide to create his own business instead of applying for job. This person reduced the numbers of job applicants by one because he doesn’t apply. Moreover, he reduced the numbers of unemployment by three because he hires three employees. I merely assume that he opens a small restaurant that needs one cook and two waitresses. The number of unemployment subdued will rise depends on the business’ scale and the branches of the business. If my assumption is too obscure, let’s just say the start-up business only needs one employee because he is involved also in the business process. The business still reduces the unemployment rate by two, the business owner and the employee. I am not finished, I’m just talking about one business owner. What about ten, hundred, or even millions entrepreneur? We can count with numbers and at the end we all finally agreed creating entrepreneurs do solve unemployment problem.
“Urgently needed: ENTREPRENEUR. We are looking for anyone who meets these requirements: have good character, positive thinking, and creative. Applicant must create jobs in Indonesia. Appearance is neglected. Experiences and any school degrees may add some benefits. Strong will is more needed. Please contact numbers written below.”
The word “we” in that vacancy stands for Indonesia. I never see that kind of job vacancy in any newspaper advertising. This advertisement might be a joke, but it scorches my heart to ignite the flame of entrepreneurship in Indonesia. Indonesia doesn’t need job seekers anymore! We already have plenty; the truth is loudly exclaimed: Indonesia needs more entrepreneurs!
Let’s talk about the disproportionate balance between supply and demand. Assume employee as supply and company as demand, which has much more weight at the supply side, this cause many of the job seekers are easily exploited and tricked by the company. We could be working as a cheap labor in foreign countries because we really need a job yet we can’t compete in the job vacancy competition. Some are just looking for money wherever and whatever they can. Their bargaining position would be so low that they must take the immoral job with low salary and high work hour. Indeed our labor prices are so valuable and profitable for the business owner; lowering the cost and leveraging the profit, Indonesia what a great deal! The worst case scenario of this issue is human trafficking. The victims are usually women. They are promised to work as a model, singer, secretary, Liaison Officer, or any other decent job with attractive salary. In some cases they are tricked, they are sexually exploited in foreign countries and some of them don’t have chance to go back in Indonesia not alone to work in the office building as they have dreamed before.
Talking about change can’t be separated from talking about development. We can’t rely on natural resources alone for our country’s development. It is like a time bomb. Just wait until it is slowly depleted and so does the development of our country. This is the ticking hand of the clock, slowly making a full circle that would trigger the bomb to explode. The explosion is not an action-movie like flame burst scene; it’s the collapsing existence of our nation! We must shift our type of development into sustainable development. The term sustainable development as defined by the Brundtland Commission, “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generation to meet their own needs”. The United Nations 2005 World Summit Outcome Document refers to the interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars of sustainable development as economic development, social development, and environmental protection. Sustainable in my simple words: build our own business empire, develop human resources both inside the company and the societies nearby, and consider environmental issue while taking business decision.
Poor people can’t manage great amount of money. The money would be wasted because they don’t know how to use it well and how to develop the money. It is a matter of mind-set and knowledge. The same issue, abundant natural resources would be wasted on the hand of poor people. Poor people think and act like poor people, they don’t have rich mentality. The good news is we Indonesian people are not poor, we were born rich! We need to have right mentality, right mind-set of thinking. Right believing leads to right living. Right thinking generates right working. For me there are two important points about managing resources. First, we must know that we were born rich! Surely we have nothing to do with gold or oil trapped under the earth, those were given. Second, we must gain knowledge to develop the resources. We are not that stupid. We have our Indonesian people study in great universities, working as engineer, scientist, all around the world. Maybe last decade, lack of knowledge is still our problems; we can’t do it because we don’t know how to do it. But that’s so irrelevant in today’s development of information technology. Indonesian people are not stupid, we can build anything, and we can learn anything from any country in this world.
If we do nothing and don’t create entrepreneurs in Indonesia someday we will sit still watching news saying that our beloved country Indonesia is being exploited by foreign country. My goals of this essay are that we, Indonesian students all over the world, change our mind from employee to be employer or entrepreneur. I want to bolt entrepreneur concept in your mind: before you want to submit your job application, try to think: “Is this your calling? Is this the best you could do for a better Indonesia? Is there any business idea that you can create?” You can develop your mind as entrepreneur, so after graduation you don’t ask yourselves “Where is the best company you can work for? Consider the career plan, high salary, insurance, retirement plan, training program and so on.” When you get the calling as entrepreneur you ask yourselves “What kind of business you would choose? Who can work for you? What can you do to make this business bigger and absorb more employees? Consider your business plan, profit, employee’s salary, employee’s insurance, social donation to next village and so on.”
Nothing’s wrong with being an employee. If being entrepreneur is too risky we can do both, open a business while working in a company. It may work for some people. Some take lessons from the company where they work and then open their own business. I have a friend in Bandung, he worked as waiters in a cafe for one years. It was a great cafe but it has low revenue. It shocked me that in the second year, he bought the cafe and run that cafe with his new concept even better! Well educated Indonesia who prefers to work abroad with really high salary is really good. In fact I actually wanted job as mining engineer in Australia or wherever big company which can pay great salary. But, Indonesia needs more entrepreneurs! It is an urgent calling for all us Indonesian students and workers all over the world, take your experiences and transfer it back to Indonesia!
Let’s start small. Great journey starts with a small single step. Start small think big. Before having business with 1 million dollars capital, it is okay to create smaller ones. You can’t do big step as first step unless you are a child of Richard Branson so you can have big capital with full-time mentoring from success entrepreneur. Let’s collaborate. I have great idea with no resources, you don’t have idea but have a lot of resources, and we can have a deal. I have a business that creates a creative packaging, your business sells food products, and we can have a deal. There are many ways to collaborate, many ways to adding more value giving more opportunities.
Let’s do this! I just created my own small business. Through that business I share wealth to my employee, family of my employees, the land owner, my supplier, my neighborhood where I open my small restaurant, near a public transportation station. I share my thoughts and story about entrepreneurship. I have motivated my friends through my story in conversation and writing. Until today I have made 10 of my friends becoming entrepreneur and I urge them to do the same. Now I urge you to be an entrepreneur especially in our beloved country, Indonesia and after that do boost the number of entrepreneurs: motivate others. My essay touches its finish line when entrepreneur mentality and urgency of entrepreneurs in Indonesia rooted in your mind. This happens when you want to apply for job, you stop for a moment and think, “Is this the best you could do for a better Indonesia?” 
SHS-This essay was created in 2012 to compete in a particular essay competition. I didn’t win, yet the essay is still worth reading (for me).