The line that delineates digital economy and traditional economy is becoming increasingly blurred as businesses are finding ways to integrate the former with the latter. In a time where business practices are shifting to digital frameworks, it is worth investigating how different economies are dealing with this shift.

In Southeast Asia, efforts to support digital economy has been cropping up across multiple facets. Some countries are largely supported by state-sponsored initiatives; others rely on the support of more established enterprises.

In some instances, the best support comes from the tech startup community itself, gathering experts and insiders to connect and trade insights on how to manage different business models. More importantly, such initiatives help educate emerging startups on how to improve products under their businesses.

This is the main thrust of e27 Academy: building the right foundation through content, community, and coaching.

e27 Academy is a three-day learning programme that is designed to help aspiring and early-stage startup founders build their companies and navigate the ecosystem. The e27 Academy happened in the Indonesian island of Batam, home to Nongsa Digital Park, on November 28-30, 2018.

Also read: e27 Academy is your Founder’s Retreat with hundreds of other Founders

It was participated by startup founders across Southeast Asia, with trainers and experts representing some of the most sought after startups today.

Nestled among lush foliage, the Nongsa Digital Park—considered to be the “digital bridge” between Singapore and Indonesia—is in support of Indonesia’s plan to build 1,000 new digital startups amounting to a total of 10 billion USD by 2020. It also seeks to support Singapore’s expansion of its infocomm and technology sector.

Situated in Batam, merely a short ferry ride from Singapore, NDP positions itself in Southeast Asia’s largest economy (Indonesia) while maintaining close access to Singaporean and Malaysian economies.

Leveraging experience at the core of every new business

An institution that has shown its immense support for e27 Academy is Citramas Group, a diversified group of businesses that was founded in 1980.

Industries under Citramas group’s umbrella of businesses include: oilfield equipment manufacturing, shipping and logistics, drilling services’ infrastructure development comprising port and ferry terminals, hotels, and an animation and film production company as well as other interests in the hospitality and leisure industry.

The diversity of industries they work in puts Citramas in the best position to help emerging startups get a sense of how to build their businesses and improve their products, since many young startups do not have the same grasp and experience yet.

The Nongsa Digital Park is a subsidiary of Citramas, making it the perfect platform to house initiatives like e27 Academy, along with media and creative services company, Infinite Studios, that mooted the idea of the park.

Also read: Slew of Indonesian MOUs aim to support Batam island tech scene

Collectively, Citramas, NDP, and Infinite Studios were the three core signatories of the 13 MOUs (memorandum of understanding) that is pushing for growth in the western Indonesian startup ecosystem, putting the island of Batam at its heart.

This series of MOUs cover a range of verticals: industrial curriculum, funding for digital workforce training through LPK, exploratory work on opportunities related to vocational trainings, areas such as creative arts and digital skills, job opportunities for Indonesian talent, creating collaborative and innovative spaces to share scientific and academic knowledge, hackathon programs, seminars, workshops, and vocational trainings and conferences among many others.

The agreements made through the thirteen MOUs were signed during the e27 Academy.

Leaders to further their resolve to strengthen Western Indonesia’s startup ecosystem

In an effort to strengthen Indonesia’s startup ecosystem, Indonesian leaders also took part in e27 Academy. Infinite Studios, one of the core signatories of the series of MOUs, was part of the event through Director & Member of the Board, Marco Bardelli.

Indonesian creative economy agency, BEKRAF, was also present. BEKRAF is a new non-ministral institution formed by Indonesian president, Joko Widodo in an attempt to bolster and embolden the creative sector of the Indonesian economy.

Ilham Habibie, Implementation team Chair of Wantiknas, also took part in the e27 Academy. Wantiknas or The National Information and Communication Technology Council is a multi-stakeholder institution in the field of ICT, formed and chaired by the President of the Republic of Indonesia.

Its vision is to speed up the utilisation and growth of ICT in Indonesia efficiently and effectively by formulating ICT policies nationally.

Another important personality present was Shinta Dhanuwardoyo, Head of Digital Business, E-Commerce and Start-Up Development with the Indonesia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN), where she is currently creating a platform for start-ups and venture capitalists in Indonesia.

These leaders were all present over the course of the three-day event, crystalising their commitment to strengthening the startup ecosystem in Indonesia, and ultimately, in Southeast Asia.