Labor work in Indonesia predominantly implicates poor conditions and small wages (OECD, 2018). According to the World Bank Group, 9.8% of the country’s population live below the national poverty line with only marginal opportunities to escape the poverty trap and improve life quality2. Reni Nuraeni was one of these labourers before 2012. She then reached out to MBK (PT. Mitra Bisnis Keluarga Ventura), the largest Grameen-style microfinance institution in Indonesia and long-term investee of BlueOrchard, to fund her entrepreneurial project.  MBK, which stands for “Family Business Partners”, was established in 2003 as a non-banking financial institution, which provides working capital loans to women with low income through a joint liability group model. 100% of all loans are distributed towards productive purposes, driving financial inclusion which paves the way towards improved access to healthcare, affordable education, and more.

In the case of Remi, she used her first loan to build up her ethnic craft bag business. Through this capital, she was able to purchase materials, craft unique patterns, and sew the bags into beautiful, handcrafted items. Typical Indonesian craft bags require skills and patience, where natural materials are woven into unique geometric patterns, demonstrating the county’s heritage and colorful culture. Over time, her entrepreneurial spirit has enabled her to market her products beyond local borders and reaching more clients, by sending them to Mataram, a city on the island of Lombok, once a week.

She received more loans over time as her business grew, and she has now collected her 10th loan, amounting to IDR 7 million (USD 460). Through MBK’s continuous funding and Remi’s successful repayment of loans, her prospering business now employs five staff to help her run the business. The growth of the business not only helped Remi to increase her monthly income by 50% to IDR 3 million (USD 197), but also created further jobs and a safe income for her community, positively impacting the life of others.