Indosat Ooredoo’s SheHacks supports gender equality through the power of technology

This article is brought to you by Indosat Ooredoo.

Gender equality in Indonesia has come a long way in the past decade, with women increasingly having more prominent roles in the economy, education, the government, as well as in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

At the same time, however, Indonesian women still face challenges in several fields, particularly regarding economic, educational and health issues.

To answer the challenge, Indosat Ooredoo, a leading digital telecommunication company in Indonesia, has launched the SheHacks programme as part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme on the Women Empowerment pillar.

The SheHacks programme first began in 2020 to empower Indonesian women through innovations, allowing them to hack their problems into creative breakthroughs that can help to solve some of the social and economic challenges facing women in Indonesia.

The 2021 edition of SheHacks was launched in June and focused on reducing the gender gap in three main areas: the economy, education and health. Specifically, the programme aims to empower women to increase their economic contribution by fostering entrepreneurship, access to education, and improving access to health services.

Commenting on the initiative, president director and CEO of Indosat Ooredoo, Ahmad Al-Neama, said: “Through our SheHacks programme, we aim to provide mentorship and training to Indonesian women, helping them develop digital solutions to address some of the real problems they face.”

The launch of SheHacks 2021 was marked by an event hosted by Indosat Ooredoo and attended by Tri Rismaharini, Minister of Social Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, and H.E. Fawziya E. Al-Sulaiti, Ambassador of the State of Qatar to Indonesia.

Award-winning Indonesian journalist Andini Effendi endorsed SheHacks 2021, with posts on her Instagram account garnering more than 1,000 likes and views. SheHacks 2021 also teamed up with the Indonesian fashion site Myrubylicious to raise funds for the Indonesian Coalition to Prevent Cervical Cancer (KICKS) to expand the programme’s benefits for women.

Due to COVID-19, SheHacks 2021 kicked off eight webinars and three Instagram Live sharing sessions conducted online using Indosat Ooredoo’s 4G video grade internet connectivity.

The virtual talks attracted a total of 5,820 views, with discussion topics that included “Women in STEM”, “Empowering rural women financially”, “Creating a women-friendly working environment” and “Advancing women in digital marketing”.

The programme then offered participants a choice between three key topics – women’s equality in education, women’s health and wellbeing, and women’s entrepreneurship. Participants could sign up as individuals or in teams to submit proposals under their preferred topic.

At the end of July, SheHacks 2021 reached its mid-way point and has already benefited 1,453 Indonesian women aged between 15 and 40, and received a total of 477 problem-solving proposals.

This achievement showed a significant increase from the previous year with 95 participants and 30 submitted proposals. SheHacks 2021 is also more expansive than 2020, as 23% of the total participants come from outside Java Island.

From the hundreds of proposal submissions, 10 finalists were shortlisted and given access to mentorship and coaching opportunities involving four industry experts – Reza Rizky Darmawan (co-founder and CEO of POST. app); Dina Kosasih (founder of OiHub); Dina Dellyana (director of business incubator SBM ITB); and Leonika Sari (CEO of Reblood).

Participants were coached to sharpen their proposals during the mentoring segment as they prepared for a final pitch to the SheHacks judges. The mentoring sessions also exposed participants to various fundamental topics, such as “Problem and solution fit”, “Customer validation”, “BMC & lean canvas” and “Prototyping”.

Alongside close mentorship, SheHacks 2021 also offered finalists the opportunity to participate in strategic partner-sharing sessions. Led by Iriantoni Almuna (programme lead women’s economic empowerment, UN Women Indonesia), Dominica Lindsey (senior director of GSMA Connected Women), and Lady Diandra (youth co:lab Indonesia Focal Point, UNDP), these unique sessions allowed finalists to do deeper dives into specific issues affecting women in Indonesia, and further refine their proposals.

In explaining the programme design of SheHacks 2021, Steve Saerang, SVP and head of corporate communications at Indosat Ooredoo, noted that: “From the get-go, Indosat Ooredoo realised the importance of conversing with others and exchanging ideas when seeking to solve complex challenges. As such, the interactive sharing sessions and mentorship portions of SheHacks 2021 were intentionally designed to foster engagement, ideation and collaboration between participants and industry experts.”

In August, finalists submitted final proposals and video pitches to an esteemed panel of judges comprising Arief Mustain (director and chief strategy and innovation officer, Indosat Ooredoo); Natasha Nababan (chief legal and regulatory officer, Indosat Ooredoo); Haryati Lawidjaja (CEO LinkAja); Samira Shihab (CEO and co-founder of Tinkerlust, founder of Stellar Women); and Dwi Faiz (head of programme, UN Women Indonesia).

Judges subsequently assessed proposals and pitches, bearing in mind the identified problems, suggested solutions, projected levels of impact and scalability, and possibilities for monetisation. From here, winners were identified and went through a four-month buddy programme where they will be connected to the right stakeholders to actualise their solutions.

“Indosat Ooredoo is always looking to bring together aspiring entrepreneurs, engineers, thought leaders, and consultants alike to share their points of view, generate ideas, examine options and launch effective and unique innovations,” Saerang said.

“Therefore, we are delighted to be able to offer women from across Indonesia an opportunity to learn from and work alongside more experienced female leaders. We have already witnessed remarkably high levels of enthusiasm throughout the first half of SheHacks 2021. We hope this year’s programme will equip all participants with the necessary tools and knowledge to succeed in their respective fields.”

SheHacks 2021 is collaborating with KUMPUL, women communities that connect ecosystem players and empower national entrepreneurs to grow and scale-up, with a total of 70 community builders in 32 cities.

Having same the vision, SheHacks 2021 is also supported by SheStarts.id, Ruang & Tempo, Petang (Perempuan Tangguh), Eureka, Mestara, Puan Berdaya, Stellar, Indonesian Women League, Herpreneur Lab, Never Okay Project, Girls in Tech, INA, Generation Girl, Women Works (WeWAW.id), Komunitas Coding Mum Indonesia (KCMI) Bali, IBCWE, Create It, KE(M)BALI, and many more.