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BINAR Academy Founder Alamanda Shantika

Digital entrepreneur and activist Alamanda Shantika, who is known as the former Go-Jek VP of Products, launches BINAR Academy this week in Jogjakarta.

The tech academy provides courses in front-end and back-end web programming, as well as mobile and desktop programming, with up-and-coming courses in data science and digital marketing. The courses are run for the duration between two weeks to two months.

Taught by the former members of Go-Jek’s Jogjakarta-based tech team, students can participate in these courses for free.

“I have been in 1000 Startup and many more startup events. The ideas [presented at the events] were great … They do not seem to have any issue in getting new ideas. Now that the idea is sufficient, then it is time to move to execution. And this is where we are still having difficulties in securing tech talents,” she told e27 at her office on Thursday.

Apart from dabbling in informal education, BINAR also sets up a hackerspace, a research lab for product development, and a talent management platform.

“We also have a talent management service for companies who are opening a tech team in Jogjakarta. It has become some sort of my specialty to build tech teams for people[‘s companies], so people often come up to me to consult,” Shantika explained.

Students graduating from the BINAR course can also join the talent management platform right away, with opportunity to choose the work they aspire to do.

“I want programmers to be able to work in a place because they want to, not because it’s the only job left on Earth,” she concluded.

While the BINAR curriculum aims to bridge between what is taught in universities and what the job field requires, BINAR courses and talent management platform are available for aspiring programmers and developers from all age and education background.

“In fact, I’d love to have junior high school kids joining this programme to learn to code,” she said.

So far, BINAR has managed to register around 50 potential students.

The BINAR team itself consists of seven people in the management team, which manage the business from Jakarta, and 12 people in the mentor team.

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A future in education

Shantika founded BINAR to fulfill her lifelong dream and passion of becoming an educator and building a school. In fact, the 1000 Startup advisor has a goal of becoming a Minister of Education.

“My parents used to own a school, so I guess it’s in the blood … But I decided to work in education because I realised that the centre of what we are creating is the human resource. Like when I was building the Go-Jek team. I was doing more than just building a platform; I am building the human behind it,” she stressed.

She also noticed a recent trend where tech startups have begun to compete for talents in an “unhealthy” way.

“We have many good CEOs popping up, but who is going to work on the tech part? We are still fighting to have talents on our side, even the bigger startups are experiencing it. The salary range rises and it will soon become a bubble. This is why I rushed to set up this academy in Jogjakarta,” she said.

Shantika currently runs BINAR through bootstrapping though the academy is going to begin fundraising in April.

In the long run, her plan is to built a full-fledged tech community based in BINAR campus, which also includes a ballroom for tech events and a hotel to facilitate participants and speakers from other cities.

“We want to build an ecosystem … That’s why we are looking for investors working in property development,” she said.

“I also want the complex to have a positive impact to the surrounding area. Like when we built Go-Jek Tech Valley, the surrounding area was a typical village. We want to accommodate local residents to open food stalls in the canteen, to give them entrepreneurship workshops. We also want to start afternoon classes for children in the area,” Shantika added.

While she plans to build up to three branches of the academy in Jogjakarta alone this year, BINAR is also looking toward other Indonesian cities.

“I want Indonesian kids to be able to stay in their hometown and develop it. So, in the future, startups will not appear only in Jakarta, but also other cities,” she said.

Image Credit: Alamanda Shantika