On January 27th, 2018 SWE Affiliate Jakarta hosted its first event in 2018. The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) is the world’s largest advocate and catalyst for change for women in engineering and technology, with more than 30,000 members globally. We help members reach their full potential as engineers and leaders through networking and professional development. We inspire young girls to become engineers and support them with scholarships. Our Jakarta Affiliate was established just one year ago yet we are quite active. We have done workshops, factory visits, and science experiments with underprivileged children.
The event was conducted at @america in Pacific Place with 37 people in attendance. @america is the U.S. Embassy’s American cultural center located in Jakarta, Indonesia. Their mission is to provide a space for young Indonesians to learn more about the United States and to share ideas about issues that both Americans and Indonesians care about. The event began with the playing of a webinar recording about entrepreneurship and was followed by a panel session. The recorded webinar was paused four times when the facilitator asked a question for the audience to think about and to have a small discussion in regards to the material that was just covered.
The webinar speaker Alaina Levine of Quantum Success Solutions described the advantages entrepreneurs have if they are also engineers. Alaina also stressed the importance of innovation. Entrepreneurship is highly correlated with innovation, and as engineers, we have to solve problems, which is also correlated with innovation; however, engineers can be too detailed and demand perfection, which can detain innovation. Alaina explained the definition of a successful business and the plans we need to make to create a successful business. She reminded us to remember that customer is the king, without customers tech innovation would never see the light of the day. We need customers who pay for the product or service we offer so marketing is everything. Once you are in the entrepreneurship world, you need two types of innovation, tech innovation that is based on product or service and business innovation to ensure successful delivery of value to the customer and they have to support each other. Alaina also stressed the elements needed to be a successful entrepreneur such as knowing the problem you are addressing, the solution you are proposing, the market you are entering, doing risk assessment, creating financial models, and understanding the situation. Don’t forget an exit strategy even if that means turning it over to your children someday. In the end, she encouraged us to Go For It because we can do it.
Following the webinar, SWE Affiliate Jakarta introduced four panelists who had a background in engineering or technology and had become entrepreneurs. The panelists were Aulia Halimatussadiah (Llia), founder and CCO at Zetta Media, co-founder nulisbuku.com, storial.co, also writer of 29 books with several awards and recognition, Fransiska Oetami, founder of Clevio Coder Camp, Yunita Taniwangsa, Change Management Consultant, Leadership Workshop Facilitator and a business & executive coach at ActionCOACH, and Puty Puar geological engineers turned writer, illustrator, and blogger. Even though we had a little over an hour, we could only cover five questions. Interestingly, none of the panelists had ever dreamed of becoming entrepreneurs. Based on the answers of the panelists, we can conclude that engineers can be entrepreneurs, but we need to change the way we think in certain aspects. We need to know ourselves so we can find the right mentor and especially the right business partner. We don’t need to quit our current job to do it. We can start while still we have a full time job, but we certainly need a lot of self-discipline.