Indonesian startup Founder Dhini Hidayati works three jobs for a cause she believes in. Find out why and how
In this new series, e27 sits down with the people behind startups to find out what moves them and why they would not trade the startup life for anything.
“GandengTangan is a digital lending-based crowdfunding platform for social entrepreneurs and micro businesses. We bridge them with potential lenders, with zero per cent interest rate,” she explains.
Giving social entrepreneurs a micro businesses loan — instead of a donation — will encourage them to be more sustainable in running their business. It also gives them an opportunity to build a track record before going to the next stage of funding.
But running a startup is not the only thing on Hidayati’s plate at the moment. She is also Product Manager of Digital Banking in Permata Bank, while occasionally performing as an actress in a local theatre group.
First and foremost: How do you do all that?
I love being busy. I don’t feel fulfilled doing just corporate jobs, like I (feel the) need to bring out other potentials. That’s all.
My work in GandengTangan is actually strongly related to my banking job, because I am in the Digital Banking division. This is how I first learnt about fintech.
Every day, I did the 9-to-5 thing, though banking work does not always finish at 5 PM … Then left to work on GandengTangan afterwards.
My supervisor also knows that I am currently involved in this. He has been very understanding, as long as I get work done.
As for theatre, well, I only have to practice when we are about to perform, like 10 days before. So it’s not that hard [to manage time].
How did you begin it all? You studied Chinese Literature in university, then you work in a bank, and now you are in a startup.
After graduation, I worked in another bank for a while, then I resigned to join Indonesia Mengajar, a social movement where volunteers live for a year in remote Indonesian islands to teach in schools. That’s how I met these really awesome people with passion for social issues and all.
Then I came back to take part in a management trainee programme in my current office. It was good, secure payment, [opportunities for] intellectual growth … And I decided to do digital instead of finance, because it does not require much from my background.
Then, I began to meet friends from Indonesia Mengajar again and it starts from there. I actually don’t really [know] why I chose this, it’s just happened that way! (laughs)
But [what connects the] the red dots is definitely the social issues.
What is your favourite thing about working in a tech startup?
You are solving a problem. You actually help people. In corporations, you don’t really solve people’s problem, if you know what I am saying?
Every single idea matters and every single process helps you to grow. You experience the problems yourself, and you solve it yourself.
Growing up, was there any moment that made you decide you wanted to work in the tech industry?
None at all. If there’s anything that connects the dots, between all the work that I am doing, [it] is social issues.
The turning point was when I travelled to the island of Miangas for a social project in university. I was such a snob when I arrived there, [though] I didn’t even know how to pick up firewood!
But then I saw how people on that island, despite all their limitations … They still had a huge respect for the country. And here I am complaining of traffic jams and untidy clothes.
Image Credit: Dhini Hidayati
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