With four unicorns — Tokopedia, Gojek, Traveloka and Bukalapak — Indonesia is considered an advanced country in Southeast Asia, according to Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati.
Unicorns are startups valued over US$1 billion. Unicorns have been in the spotlight after the second presidential debate where President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo raised the issue.
“There are a lot of startups, but not many can survive. We are exceptional in Southeast Asia. Many countries think we are advanced,” Sri Mulyani said in Jakarta on Monday as quoted by kontan.co.id.
Sri Mulyani said the Finance Ministry was prepared to support policies to improve the startup ecosystem and facilitate the birth of more unicorns through the improvement of human resources, infrastructure and allocation of adequate funding to support research.
She said the existence of unicorns could not be separated from the role of good universities in nurturing talent because the founders of the unicorns were well educated.
The government will support universities and research institutions with funding, she said, adding that the development of infrastructure was also important so that the digital economy could benefit all people.
“Infrastructure will ensure unicorns and their economic benefits are not only enjoyed by people in Java,”
For that, she added, the government had developed the Palapa Ring broadband project across the country through public-private partnership schemes to provide good internet access, including for those who live in remote areas.
The minister also promised to support startups in regard to taxation. “The government and unicorns will continue to have discussions on what is needed [to help startups develop],” she added. (bbn)