The Importance of Digital Economy for the Sustainability of MSMEs Facing a New Normal Era

The COVID-19 pandemic caused a global economic crisis with a complexity of problems that was very different from crises that had previously occurred. This certainly also has a direct impact on the sustainability of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), especially in the face of a pandemic and new normal going forward. Therefore, Science Techno Park (STP) IPB University in collaboration with PT Ucoach Indonesia held a series of inaugural Business Hack Webinars with the theme of New Normal Retail Consumer Trends, (19/6).

In his remarks, Prof. Dr. Bambang Brodjonegoro, Minister of Research and Technology (Menristek) / Head of the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) said, the crisis zone due to this pandemic, based on the results of the study of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) in 2020, was a wave of Termination Employment Relations (PHK) by 15.6 percent, a decrease in workers' income by 40 percent. Even 15 percent of workers no longer have income. While the surviving workers, most of them work from home (Work from Home / WFH).

"Such conditions have an immediate impact on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). A decrease in sales of MSME products. Based on survey results, 94.69 percent decreased. What remained was only 2.65 percent, which also increased 2.65 percent. The majority of MSMEs have vulnerabilities within the next six months, which ultimately will lead to poverty, "he said.In facing the new normal, Prof. Bambang introduced the concept of Less Contact Economy, which is an economic activity that still seeks to maximize productivity or output, by substituting every physical activity that requires face-to-face to be digital. Digital technology that is applied in this economic sector, will encourage opportunities for the growth of MSMEs that drive the economy.

While Prof. Dr. Arif Satria, Rector of IPB University said, a common problem for MSMEs or startups is the difficulty of market access. Often the innovations produced are only enjoyed by researchers. The presence of STP IPB University can strengthen new startups to enter the market and benefit from the public."We also have a Serambi Botani outlet that contains innovative products of IPB University researchers to make it easily accessible to the public. We want to prove that higher education innovation products are present in the market. This is in order to be able to contribute to the economy and at the same time be a feedback for research on campus that is increasingly relevant to the needs of the community, "said Prof. Arif.

Meanwhile, Sir Harry Darsono, PhD from the point of view of an artist and psychologist, said that what determines the future direction of the nation, not by youth, is creativity. Not always from youth, creativity can be born from various ages. At difficult times like this, he said, creative people who will open new roads and opportunities as solutions to existing problems.On the same occasion, Andrew Tani, Chief Executive Officer of AndrewTani & Co., said, the first and foremost step in transformation in the digital age is the transformation of mindset applied by building a network organization with a winning team network. So that the transformation into a digital culture can be realized.

Meanwhile, Retail and Consumer Strategist, Yongky Susilo said that in the retail world, it is not a matter of online or offline, but how we must replace the business model with fast, smart and ecosystem.  "The business model used to be the big one beating the small one. But going forward, the fast one will defeat the old one. The clever one, eats the dumb and the ecosystem beats the self. Now it can't be alone. So here are three new business models that Indonesia must have in the future, "he said.

Furthermore, Yongky said that during the COVID-19 pandemic it did produce new habits. But according to him, changing habits may not be permanent. People will return to their previous habits when this pandemic ends. Basically, habits cannot be changed in a short time. Completed COVID-19, the habit of people to shop offline, traveling will definitely be done again.

"All will return again, people will eat out again. So what about online business? The best ones for sale online are five categories. Fashion, consumer electronics and accessories, health and beauty, mom and baby products, and home living. Focus on these five, so don't waste too much investment, unfortunately the money, "said Yongky. (IAAS / NAS)

Published Date : 19-Jun-2020

Resource Person : Prof Dr Bambang Brodjonegoro

Keyword : Pandemic COVID-19, UMKM, STP IPB University, UMKM strategy in the middle of a pandemic