Jun 28, 2021 – Finding solutions to business challenges in the middle of Covid-19 pandemic, Citi Indonesia and Prestasi Junior Indonesia have successfully conducted the Digipreneur Mentoring Class involving Citi Volunteers. These excellent business professionals interacted with students who participate in the JA Student Company program which operates in 25 high/vocational schools in 5 cities in Indonesia. This is part of Citi Global Community Day 2021, a volunteering activity carried out by Citibankers to contribute to empowering communities within which they work.
The Student Company Program is part of the Citi-funded Youth Digipreneur Initiative. By participating in this program, the students will gain their very first experience in establishing and operating a business. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic does compromise programmatic impact regarding the running of this program as, for example, all the company operational activities must be conducted remotely. This is a challenge that must be faced by all members of each Student Company. Human Resources need to be managed properly to ensure individuals of the company can still work together productively and reach business targets. The pandemic also provides the necessity for change from the marketing side. Consequently, business interaction between the sellers and customers is shifting to digital and face-to-face interaction is not possible. Student Company participants now focus on greater integration of digital strategies to improve overall visibility and market their ideas and products.
The Digipreneur Mentoring Class provided Citi Volunteers with the opportunity to share their knowledge, experience, and skills to the Student Company participants. This has been exceptionally helpful for all participants, as a prime consideration communicated to beneficiaries is the need to always adapt to market conditions by developing business strategies which address challenges. The involvement of the volunteers inspired the students to always develop their business potentials and they were also excellent role models for young Indonesians, all of whom are seeking to determine their future pathways to achieving well-being.
This program was conducted for 3 days on 22, 24, and 28 June 2021. Each session had different topics involving speakers who are experts in their field. All 3 sessions were attended by more than 300 students from 25 Student Companies in Jakarta, Bandung, Semarang, Surabaya, and Denpasar. So, over the three days almost 1,000 student learning experiences took place resulting from Citi volunteers’ support.
The first topic delivered by volunteers was ‘Turning Challenges into Successes’. This session was presented by Mei Hutasoit, HR Advisory Global Consumer Banking Citi Indonesia. Mei shared insight about how to handle the challenges faced by the company in the aspect of Human Resource Management. She emphasized that communication is a key. This kind of communication is not limited to a purely business perspective only, but also includes engagement with personnel, support, and empathy.
“The main point of an engagement is communication. This communication leads to something specific, personal, and genuine. It is necessary for a leader to ask and know the condition of team members because each person has different characteristics and life problems. A leader should be able to take a personal approach,” she said.
Apart from Mei Hutasoit and the other volunteers, Sharat Rangraj Mavinker, Managing Director, Head of Operations and Technology Citi Indonesia also participated in this session. He gave insights about team management and elaborated by giving his perspectives as to how to manage the harmony within and among teams, including the times when businesses face unpredictable situations.
Mr. Sharat mentioned that making a regular agenda to meet the team is essential to know the progress of each member. Communicating the broader visions is a way that a leader is able to increase solidarity so that the missions can be achieved together. In this session, Mr. Sharat gave the students some tips to make micro-goals within the long-term visions and plans. He clarified that it is good to break the plans into smaller parts that are easier to manage.
During session 2 and session 3, the topics were, respectively, ‘Product Photography for Small Businesses’ and ‘Strengthen Your Brand Through Social Media’. These have a quite fundamental application to the Student Company operations, especially at a time when physical interaction is not possible. Currently, more than 50% of Indonesian society are social media users and many individuals possess smartphones. This is an opportunity for small businesses to strengthen their brand and reach consumers by promoting their products on various platforms with attractive designs and images. Product photos presented on social media is highly effective in building consumer trust and loyalty, increasing the product value, and making the product easy to remember. This increases consumer awareness and, if done well, encourages interest and purchase.
The Student Company participants found that this program was very beneficial. They learned to apply solutions to the problems they face within the team, how to utilize social media, and get the best photo products to reach their target market. Students also mentioned that the knowledge they received provided potential to help them develop their skills, especially those related to business communication and self-improvement.
“’Turning Challenge into Success’ gave me a very great influence. I learned how to increase solidarity within the team in the middle of pandemic. There were also some tips and tricks that I can take as lessons for the future,” said Athallah Rizqi Rahardian from SMAN 5 Semarang.
Aside from Athallah, Sukma Aulia Jasmine, one of the Student Company participants from SMAN 2 Surabaya said that she got a lot of information by attending the second session of the Digipreneur Mentoring Class. She becomes more aware of the importance of learning photography to be applied in her company. “I got so much knowledge in taking product photos and how to promote our products to attract more buyers’ attention. Digipreneur Mentoring Class was really useful for me and my friends to achieve our success in business.”