All active business and political stakeholders at Lake Toba want to see their region develop its full economic and socio-cultural potential more effectively. Among others, Luhut B. Panjaitan, the powerful Indonesian minister of Batak origin just recently (July 2017) presented an investment strategy for Lake Toba, which is based on strong B2B relationships between local and national/international businesses. In order to make this a successful strategy, the current lack of entrepreneurship in the region needs to be addressed forcefully, and local entrepreneurial talents and skills needs to be identified and supported accordingly.
The Indonesian Gap of Entrepreneurship
The Indonesian weakness in entrepreneurship has several reasons:
For a long time Indonesia was a colony. After 20 years of democracy, a period of 32 years of dictatorship followed. Still, this deficit of self trust, of their own visions, and their own power is a result of this period.
Indonesia has too many laws and regulations that make it very difficult for Entrepreneurs to start. Every step taken to start an enterprise requires a paper and there are too many pointless laws and regulations that make the process take longer than necessary.
Often a lot of money must be paid to corrupt government officials in order to receive a license.
There is still no culture of entrepreneurship in Indonesia. There are no decent NGOs or institutions to help founders.
The trade with foreign countries is still complicated because a lot of business is required for the importation of goods.
The diversification of goods in Indonesia is very limited in most branches, which makes it difficult to develop new products.
The Indonesians are very conservative and not really open to new products, especially if they are produced in Indonesia.
There are no centers and clusters for entrepreneurship, which is what is needed to start the mental revolution of a society, which designs the country and develops a welfare on the base of ideas of citizens.
Setting up a Center for Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship needs an environment, a space that serves as an incubator where ideas can grow and be supported. We want to create such a space at the southern end of Lake Toba. There is already the Academica DEL which is a hotspot for creativity and we want to cooperate with them there. At the other side of the lake, there is the new international Airport of Silangit.
For the beginning it needs to be a space where the people that want to create something can come together and share their ideas with one another. There needs to be specialists, moderators, and coaches to support the entrepreneurs.
Why Lake Toba needs an STDC?
So the local people of Lake Toba can learn how to create their own products, market them, and sell them. There will soon an influx of tourists coming to Lake Toba. The airport of Silangit became international with flights to Kuala Lumpur. Maybe next year, there will be flights from Guangzhou and Mumbai.
From these places there will be a direct connection to Europe, Arab Countries, and America. We need to prepare now and whoever starts now, will be in front and will take place. Therefore it is a good idea to start now with this. There is one year for the people who want to prepare for this influx of tourists. They just need a starting place for this. For the beginning this can be just a non-frequented hotel.
In the main season, it can then be used again as a hotel. Everybody who wants to create something can go there in the morning and take place for one day, for one week, even for one month. Around this is then a structure that supports the new founders. It needs to be an environment that generates a melting pot, where a culture of entrepreneurship grows.
Bavaria, the southern province of Germany, was a very poor place 50 years ago, but then tourists started visiting. The only structure in existence there for visitors was family-run guesthouses and home-stays. The tourists would live at the farms and they would some guests rooms where they could sleep. The Government supported the farmers specifically in two ways:
The government guaranteed to buy cow milk from the farmers for a good price. The government also made a university for the farmers. These things created a central marketing solution for local milk products. In the mountains, almost all the farmers have cows. Even today, cows and nice grass can be found everywhere in southern Bavaria.
At the other side, the government empowers tourism with a lot of local events and with a structure to make central marketing for the local culture and the tourism. The government organized most tourist bookings. The government also organized a lot of trainings for the people that host guests.
Bavaria supports small businesses. There is a culture of establishing and managing a company. Bavaria now has more enterprises than people. That means there are multiple people running more than one company.
Bavaria took care of the environment. It was the first country to install a powerful ministry for the environment already in it´s 70th year.
Now nearly 90 % of the pictures of tourists in Germany taken and published are pictures from upper Bavaria: Cows, Mountains, Lakes, Grass, Blue Sky, Music, traditional Bavarian Clothes, and Bavarian food and beer. Bavaria is now the richest province in Germany and the tourism is still run by small family companies and the money stays within the country. Almost every farmer is now a Euro Millionaire because of high tech farming, technology, and tourism. Water from each river and lake can be drank from directly again!
Lake Toba has a huge potential, if the structures get established to develop it. The first steps are done. Lake Toba now needs:
A powerful BODT
A long-term master plan to develop sustainably
A structure of entrepreneurship that will support a sustainable development of local businesses
To learn from rest of the world with B2B partnerships, which are based on local companies that work together with international partners. Empowerment of the Local people needs to happen in order for this to take place. They need to have the self trust necessary to look for foreign partners.
What are the requirements for an effective STDC?
It needs to be a place where people can meet in a supportive environment. It should be somewhere where the people get an inspiration of a place, where Entrepreneurhsip take place. For this can be used for the beginning an existing building to start.
All the people that want to create a business based on their own vision can come together at this place. The people will sit together with a coach as a moderator. The moderation tech does the mind mapping to help founders organize their ideas. Each founder is then a coach for others. By this, a strategy will quickly become clear and the business can start to be developed. The founders will then already have their first potential consumer group and they can then also provide marketing for the ideas of the others. This is a very powerful and successful set up.
This place will definitely need a strong internet connection because a lot of research will take place. It will need computers for people to formulate their ideas.
Around this initial start-up group, there has to also be a structure of support for all the things that cannot be done by the group. It needs:
Lawyers to develop contracts and the founding papers
Graphic designers for all kinds of marketing
A central marketing and logistic chain for all the products
Business consultants that know how to setup a business plan and how to contact B2B partners
A place where people can work on processing products with producers. Somewhere to develop packaging and manufacture tools for production and maintenance. This will be a white collar and a blue collar workshop.
It needs the support of the BODT to help generate all the licenses for the products from the local governments. The government regulations have to be standardized and simplified.
It needs an employed certifier, who can give the SNI certification.
It needs an IT team to develop apps and web pages for all the founders. This could be in cooperation with Academica DEL
A lot of the things will already exist and could be started with the first group of 10-20 people that want to start a business. These people will sit for an initial workshop together for 1 week to generate the 10-20 business plans into a draft for a presentation. Each week someone will present their “Elevator Pitch.” These presentations can take place at a meeting room possibly in the Airport or in Balige. Each month there will be a huge presentation with all the ideas that have the biggest potential or that need support from investors elsewhere. These elevator pitches will be recorded and simultaneously uploaded to YouTube. Then everybody can see them and it is easy to find B2B partners or Business Angels.
All the founders can come each day to the group in the morning and work together with the other people meeting there. The morning will start with sharing ideas, figuring out where somebody wants to go, how they want to get there, and what he wants to do for it today. This morning meeting, on the average, should last about 1-2 hours. After this, it is clear who will be doing what with whom each day.
It will take a lot of help from colleagues to realize everybody’s dreams. Often times, the specialists are already inside the group, but everybody has a huge networking system. Each person in the group knows at least 200 people. If there are now 20 people, they already know at least 4,000 people. And this means everybody can ask someone of the 4,000 people for a solution to any problem. The 4,000 then know another 200 people each. That means this group of 20 people, after connecting only one outstanding person, already has a network of 800,000 people! This is the power of the initial group, which can be multiplied then in so many ways.
Out of this group all the other surroundings can be developed and organized. Then there is an organic growth of an Sustainable Tourism Development Center.
This is the easiest and cheapest way to do this and from the beginning, this center has the power to create a paradise around Lake Toba.
The initial group and all the people in it that want to develop something will have to pay for a day. If this is 100.000 a day, including food and place to sleep, this will be enough, to organize everything. For the initial group, it does not even need money.
For the supporting steps now around to increase power, it needs money to pay the specialists, to purchase equipment for the workshops, and so on. It would be enough to have a budget of 500.000 USD for the first year to start with everything. Then it can go fast, but the budget has to be given to the leaders of the Academy and they can decide where and how to invest. There are often solutions out of the founders groups that are much cheaper than to build something new. For example, there can be a workshop for iron, which can be used because it is already there and the old owner died.
At the other side, it would make sense to invest in something that nobody thought before, but makes absolute sense. For example, to buy a high quality drone for video-graphing.
The BODT will be the Supervisory board, where the “Elevator Pitches” of the ideas will be reported. The monthly meeting is also the presentation. The BODT is invited for this meeting and will be combined with the meeting of the Supervisory board.
The BODT will already know the best ideas and the people behind them.
The Network of Organizations and People Behind the concept of an STDC
The BODT is the leading organization for it. It is installed by the president to create a structure for tourism alongside the existing government. The task of the BODT is to also find new ways to organize the government around the tourism. With this STDC the BODT gets knowledge and tools to give to the local government to form more effective structures.
Yayasan Pencinta Danau Toba (YPDT)
The YPDT is an old and powerful Indonesian Foundation that wants to develop a Welfare Batak Country. The YPDT will support the STDC with their members, knowledge and infrastructure. Sebastian Hutabarat and Tigor Edward Siahaan are in Balige to represent the YPDT.
This Campus University, founded by Luhut B. Panjaitan, is a campus for IT and they want to create specialists from the villages. With the help of the Academica, a lot of things can be developed. For the students, the STDC is a possibility to develop their own businesses. Ratnauli Gultom already holds a workshop for entrepreneurship.
Thomas Heinle is a trainer for vision coaching and trained around 2,500 coaches in vision training. He already organized this for hundreds of people at the same time in Germany. He was famous for this and to develop lake Toba, he can give his experience to help. He helped to prepare the meeting with BI and took place there.
Sebastian Hutabarat, a batak photographer and Entrepreneur. He has a lot of space in Balige, where also a campus can be installed. On the way to the airport, he already bought land where it would be possible to do it. Norbert Kehl and Jochen Heusler already looked at this land. He is a very good motivator for people and everybody know him and he has access to everybody in the region.
Ratnauli Gultom, she is already a trainer for homestays and created the own homestay at the family land on Samosir. She will take place in an organisation like this. Also she knows a lot of people and she has a powerful spirit.
We can start with this tomorrow in Silimalombu! Already we are doing it in a small scale. It can get huge and give support for all the Lake Toba Region.