The pursuit of dreams: a pedicab driver's son aspires to create jobs

A tough life motivates Herman Daeng Pole to work and provide job opportunities for people in Takalar, South Sulawesi. An online entrepreneurship training sponsored by ILO, as part of the joint UN programme, encourages Herman to continue realising his dream.

Herman Daeng Pole has been able to support his family and contribute to his local community by running a chair repair and production shop. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impact sales and demand to his products and repair services.

With an aim to recover his declining business, Herman enrolled in an entrepreneurship training organized by LBP Nelson Consulting in June 2021. For three days, this high school graduate attended a business management training which included introduction to financial management and business strategy. "I am very happy. This is my first time joining in a business training and learning about separating personal and business finances, calculating production costs, and preparing business plans, which I think is essential in ensuring business continuity,” said Herman.

The training, which was attended by 112 small business owners and representatives of vulnerable groups in Sulawesi, is part of the Employment & Livelihoods programme supported by the ILO and other United Nations (UN) agencies in Indonesia. This programme received funding from the UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Multi-Partner Trust Fund (UN MPTF).

“Lack of knowledge about basic financial management often impeded small business owners in developing their businesses. We hope that this training can help them review and improve their business,” said Budi Maryono, ILO entrepreneurship specialist in Jakarta.

Herman comes from a simple farming family in Pa'Bundukang village, Polongbangkeng district, Takalar regency, South Sulawesi. Her mother works as a farm worker in the village while his father works as a pedicab driver at Makassar Port in the provincial capital of Makassar, 70-km away from Takalar.

Herman’s father would come home to help his wife during planting or harvest season and then return to Makassar to work. Since he was a teenager, Herman often went with his father to the capital city to look for jobs as he wanted to reduce his parents’ financial burden although he had no experience at all.

"I offer my services to anyone who needs it to earn an income; moving from one job to another," said the 36-year-old man.

Herman had worked selling clothes and other goods until he finally decided to open a shop to manufacture and repair sofas and mattresses in Takalar in 2011. He learned the trade while working at his uncle's place in Kendari, Southeast Sulawesi, for two years.

"I have always aspired to have my own business so that I don't have to depend on others and can create jobs instead," said Herman. Armed with this hope, Herman is always motivated to keep learning new things wherever he works.

Gradually, Herman built a business which he named Fitra Hani Furniture. He used his initial income to purchase equipment for his workshop. Herman also directly involved in door-to-door marketing to promote his business and services.

Herman’s endeavours began to gain traction. Orders were coming in and Herman also began to distribute his products at local furniture stores. Jobseekers came and applied for jobs. At Fitra Hani Furniture, Herman employed his relatives, including his brother, nephew and uncle, as permanent employees. Occasionally his neighbours come to help as daily workers while learning to manufacture and repair furniture at Herman’s workshop. His experience switching between jobs in Makassar when he’s young makes Herman do not hesitate to accept everyone who are seeking for apprenticeship at his business. He said there were several of his young apprentices who had open their businesses in their regions.

“This is in line with my dream to open up job opportunities for myself, my family, and the community,” said Herman.

Along with a slow down in the spread of COVID-19, Herman’s business slowly recovered. Customers demands are increasing and people from his local community are also coming to look for jobs. “I now have a hope that the knowledge from the entrepreneurship training with the ILO and LPB Nelson Consulting will continue to be useful in business development and help job seekers,” said Herman.