Entrepreneur supports local economy in Banggai Laut with his boat engine repair shop

A small boat engine maintenance training supported by the ILO, as part of a UN joint programme, made Juanda even more motivated to continue learning and developing his small workshop in Banggai Laut, Central Sulawesi.

Physical limitations due to his deformed legs made Juanda, a resident of Mominit village, Banggai Tengah district, Banggai Laut Regency, Central Sulawesi, grew familiar with rejection when he attempted to apply for work. With only limited choices left, Juanda accepted an offer to work in a small motorcycle repair shop although he only received meals in place of salary.

Juanda continued to work in his neighbour's workshop until one day, his relatives gave him money to purchase equipments to open his own workshop. He mustered up courage and opened a motorcycle repair shop at his parents' house in Mominit.

“It was not a problem to not getting paid. My main goal at that time was to gain basic knowledge about engine mechanics”

said the 30-year-old man

It was not long until his business generated positive responses from other residents in Mominit who were thankful that they no longer need to travel far to repair or take care of their motorcycles. Juanda’s customers also come from neighbouring villages.

His business grew from providing repair and maintenance services to also selling spare parts. Juanda has also been able to recruit other people with disabilities to work with him in the workshop.

Even though the workshop was running very well, Juanda still felt he needed training from professional trainers. The COVID-19 pandemic that has hit since early 2020 also presented unexpected challenges for the continuity of Juanda’s business. Therefore, he did not waste the opportunity and immediately sign up when he heard an information about a training on boat engine repair and maintenance skills.

The Training for Maintenance and Repair of Motor for Small Boats was organized by the Puter Indonesia Foundation with the support of Community for Maritime Studies (CMSI), Suzuki, and Honda Motor on 8-12 October 2021. This training was attended by residents and representatives of a number of vulnerable groups in Banggai Laut. For five days, Juanda and other participants learned about marine motor engines from professionals at Suzuki Marine Manado.

The training is part of the Employment and Livelihood programme initiated by the four United Nations (UN) agencies in Indonesia, including ILO. It is funded by the UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Multi-Partner Trust Fund (UN MPTF).

"After the training, the participants are expected to be able to repair the boat engine independently, reduce operational costs, and ultimately help increase their income," said Navitri Putri Guillaume, ILO National Project Officer in Jakarta.

With over 90 percent of Banggai Laut territory is covered by water, training to maintain and repair small boat engine is crucial to drive the local economy. According to Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) data, there were 3,467 fishery households using nearly 3,200 small engine powered boat in Banggai Laut in 2019. Banggai Laut residents also use small boats to transport people and goods.

In addition to training on small boat engine’s repair and maintenance, the participants also gained knowledge about entrepreneurship. 

During the entrepreneurship training program. Juanda learned about the best practices in building a business and calculating capital needs, as well as building and maintaining relationships with clients. According to Juanda, the entrepreneurship training is very helpful to create job opportunities for the community.

“Now, I feel more confident in my abilities”

said Juanda

At his workshop, Juanda began to receive orders to repair boat engine from fishermen in Banggai Laut. He also plans to open workshops in a number of other locations to provide services at a more affordable price.

Furthermore, Juanda intends to attend advanced training in the field of mechanics and digital marketing. He wants to use social media to reach a wider market around Banggai Laut. Juanda said he was optimistic that his small boat engine repair business will continue to grow, particularly after the pandemic passed.