Sean DeWitt works closely with our partner RUMA as a Program Manager at the Grameen Foundation.
We at Grameen Foundation congratulate our implementing partner in Indonesia, RUMA on its first prize in the Harvard Social Enterprise “Pitch for Change” competition!
The Harvard Social Enterprise Conference
Harvard University hosted its annual Social Enterprise conference on February 27-28, 2010. This year’s event attracted more than 1,300 attendees. The vibe was refreshing and dynamic, reflecting the infectious energy of the students in attendance but also the momentum that the concept of social enterprise has gained in the 2-3 years.
As part of its core activities, Harvard included a “Pitch for Change” competition to help expose exciting new social business ideas to the audience. More than a hundred entries were pre-screened and 16 semi-finalists were chosen to pitch in front of the judging panel.
RUMA: Delivering Business Solutions to the Poor & Poorest in Indonesia
One of the semi-finalists chosen was a startup social enterprise in Indonesia called RUMA (an acronym that translates to “Your Micro Business Partner”). The concept was submitted by Aldi Haryopratomo, who co-founded the RUMA social enterprise along with Budiman Wikarsa, both leaving the comfortable world of strategy consulting to build their dream in Indonesia.
Their dream is to invest the dollars and energy necessary to build a network of entrepreneurs among poor women in Indonesia who will retail valuable products and services to their communities. RUMA is determined to focus this energy to help the poor and poorest to pull themselves out of poverty. As such, RUMA is utilizing a poverty scorecard developed by Grameen Foundation to measure the baseline level of poverty of its entrepreneurs and to measure this level of poverty over time to ensure their initiative is achieving its intended outcomes in poverty alleviation.
To deliver on this promise, RUMA develops “business in a box” solutions that deliver on all three key success factors of starting any new business: (1) the idea, (2) the capital and (3) the skills. And the same way small businesses are powered by computers, these micro-businesses are powered by mobile phones. Mobile phones on the RUMA network are no longer used only for chatting, but are business devices with computing power and built-in connectivity.
RUMA’s Progress & Plans Moving Forward
In August 2009, Grameen Foundation and Qualcomm Wireless Reach engaged RUMA as the implementing partner for our collaborative Village Phone initiative in Indonesia. In the past seven months, RUMA has empowered more than 1,700 women in underserved communities with the Village Phone “business in a box” solution and these women entrepreneurs are serving more than 100,000 customers. RUMA is on track to be serving more than 1,000,000 Indonesian customers within the next three years.
We look forward to growing our partnership with both Qualcomm and RUMA, and congratulate the men and women within RUMA that are working hard every day to make this dream a reality!
To stay updated on RUMA’s progress:
- Subscribe to the “Friends of RUMA” mailing list
- Follow RUMA on Twitter
More information on 2010 Harvard Social Enterprise conference:
More information on Qualcomm Wireless Reach:
Photos courtesy of Ho Yin Au.