Young Entrepreneur Story in Uplifting Life as a Non-Local Student through Digital Marketing

When Petrus had to continue his study at Universitas Pattimura (UNPATTI), he moved from Kisar Island –a small island in Southwestern Maluku– to Ambon, Maluku. Right after, Petrus faced a new challenge, and he never thought it could change his life forever. Anticipating this challenge, he decided to build his first business in early January 2022 to survive and uplift his life as “Anak Rantau”, or a non-local student.

“I started selling banana chips in early January 2022”, said Petrus. He was at the lowest point when he first decided to build his own business. “I have to get my own money to fill my daily needs, from food to rent a dorm”, Petrus added.

Petrus named his banana chips product with ARAK as known as Anak Rantau Asal Kisar. He experienced several failures while building ARAK. Before selling banana chips, he tried to sell cold drinks and banana sticks, but it didn’t work. Instead of giving up, he kept trying to find products that fit his target market; fellow students. “Once I remembered my grandmother in Kisar, I felt inspired. She makes delicious and crunchy chips from bananas”, he explained.

Petrus asked for its recipe from his grandmother and tried to remake it. Unexpectedly, it turns out that many of his friends like his banana chips. So, he cooked banana chips in the evening and sold them when he went to campus. Petrus had to do this to maintain the quality of his products.

He adopted a “mouth by mouth” marketing strategy to sell ARAK. He brought his product everywhere and offered it to lots of people. Petrus said, “I met many and various people in college, so I let them know ARAK and persuaded them to buy”. As the pandemic COVID-19 unfolded in Indonesia, Petrus began to find it challenging to market its products. He didn’t have a chance to meet people because of quarantine, and everything became online. He started to lose customers and didn’t know how to fix this.

When being offered to participate in “Ayo Katong Belajar Bisnis”, entrepreneurship training organised by UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) together with SIAP (Social Innovation Acceleration Program), Petrus, without hesitation, took the opportunity. “Although I already tried to build my own business, I don’t have the right business acumen. As a result, I often felt lost while losing my customers”, said Petrus. “I need business or entrepreneurship training to sharpen my knowledge about marketing and finance”, Petrus added.

Petrus has learned much knowledge from entrepreneurship. During two training days, Petrus finally found the answer to his struggle to sell his product to market, ARAK. “I discovered a new tool to market my product”, said Petrus. “It’s online and digital marketing”, Petrus added.

“Now, I will try to sell my product again”, Petrus explained. He hopes his business will continue growing while practising these new marketing strategies. He also hopes that more young people can participate in starting their businesses.