International Conference on Sustainable Competitive Advantage (ICSCA 10th) 2020

On Thursday, 8 October 2020 at 08.00 to 12.00 WIB Bank Indonesia Representative of Purwokerto and the Faculty of Economics and Business, Jenderal Soedirman University held an International Conference on Sustainable Competitive Advantage 2020 with theme “Redefining Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises’ Business Strategy during Pandemic of COVID-19 ”.

This seminar is a routine agenda which is held annually by the Faculty of Economics and Business Unsoed. It is recorded that this seminar is the tenth national seminar since 2011. But, its different from previous years, this year the conference was conducted online via zoom and youtube streaming. Participants who registered for this seminar reached 1084. They were not only from Purwokerto, but also came from outside the city.

In this international seminar chaired by Dr. Rio Dhani Laksana, S.E., M.Sc. , the keynote speaker is Dr. Ida Fauziyah, M.Si. as the Minister of Manpower of the Republic of Indonesia, and the speaker are Prof. Motohide Takeda (Tokyo University, Japan), Prof. Pan Wei Hwa (National Yunlin University of Science and Technology, Taiwan), Donella Casperz, MIR., Ph.D. (University of Western Australia), and Budi Hanoto (Head of the Department of MSME Development and Consumer Protection, Bank Indonesia)

Dr. Hj. Ida Fauziyah, M.Si. in his remarks stated that MSMEs have a significant influence on the Indonesian economy. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, MSMEs have experienced several things, including:

  • more than 50% SMEs loss of income
  • reduced number of workers (due to layoffs)
  • change to online business

She also added that with the industrial revolution4.0, technology has an essential role for SMEs so they can continue to exist during this pandemic. Those who previously sold offline began to explore the online world through the market place.

In the presentation delivered by Dr. Donella Caspersz, MIR. Ph.D., she also talked about the condition of SMEs and the impact of Covid in her country, Australia. Based on the data that she obtained, 99% of all Australian businesses were SMEs, 2 out of 3 Australian jobs and 76% of all new jobs in 2018 were in SMEs, 56% of total production from SMEs. So it can be concluded that SMEs have an essential role in Australia.

The government and the people in Australia are jointly supporting SMEs during COVID-19 through employment, suspension, financial access and structural policies. Some of the strategies are:

Redefining business strategies during the pandemic:

  • responding to immediate changes in customer behavior in currently served markets
  • meeting permanent changes in customer behavior in currently served markets
  • switching to a market that has emerged due to emerged customer concerns
  • building a potential for a future market based on changes in customer behavior

In line with the presentation by Donella Casperz, MIR., Ph.D., Prof. Motohide Takeda also stated that in his country, SMEs are experiencing severe impacts due to Covid-19. Based on the data that he got, some of the severe consequences he felt were the number of unemployed increases, bankruptcies or business closures since February, which had reached 504 cases nationwide. The strategy that has been carried out is to strengthen the role of the central government and local governments, to improve management by combining the business administration, technology management and sustainable strategy sectors.

Prof. Pan Wei Hwa as the third resource person at this international seminar also added that there was a paradigm shift after the Covid-19 pandemic, namely: low social contact, a change from retail to online, more flexible work, video conferencing in place of conventional meetings, and digital transformation through e-commerce. He also shared what the Taiwan government has done to revive the economy in his country, such as:

  • For domestic consumption: various stimulus vouchers
  • For corporate: tax break, bank loan, pension payment deferrals, rate reductions, etc.
  • Jobless: training program, tuition subsidy for further degree education, immediate part-time work plan

Budi Hanoto as Head of the Department of SMEs Development and Consumer Protection, Bank Indonesia in his presentation also encouraged SMEs owners with their various potentials that they would continue to be the driving force for the national economy and have a central role even though they are experiencing the Covid 19 pandemic. MSMEs need to continue to carry out the 3A strategy:

  • adjustments, conduct business by health protocols,
  • more agile in understanding changes in consumer behaviour, and
  • acceleration of business innovation.

In an effort to encourage new innovations to support economic recovery, Bank Indonesia has implemented several steps:

  • onboarding SMEs, which encourages integration of MSMEs into digital platforms,
  • expanding QRIS acceptance in order to support the economic recovery programs and the development of MSMEs through the extension of the Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) policy of 0% for Micro Enterprises until the end of 2020, and
  • supporting the national economic recovery programs set by the government.

Based on the explanations from the speakers at this international seminar, we can conclude that SMEs must continue to innovate so they can survive in this pandemic. Don’t let the situation defeated you, but we must cultivate the fighting spirit, positive mentality and optimism for better SMEs.