London Calling for Young Indonesian Innovators
Sometimes, all you need to do is get two creative people together in the same room and magic will happen. That’s a big part of what the International Young Creative Entrepreneur Awards are all about.
Take, for example, Indonesian fashion designer Oscar Lawalata. In 2009, he won the fashion category at the IYCE Awards. That gave him the opportunity to present his fashion collections and business ideas to British designers in London.
It was there he met renowned textile designer Laura Miles. Laura and Oscar quickly became friends due to her interest in tenun ikat, a hand-woven textile with tie-dye motif from Sumbawa, West Nusa Tenggara, that Oscar brought to London for his visit. She loved the uniquely Indonesian textile so much that she collaborated with Oscar to make a line of clothing using tenun ikat, which was presented at Jakarta Fashion Week in 2010.
“Oscar’s win was quite phenomenal,” said Elsa Sasmita, a program officer for the British Council. “One thing leads to another. We’ve heard that this year, Oscar will also collaborate with famed British milliner [hat designer] Justin Smith, whom he also met during his visit to London.”
Oscar is one of many success stories to come out of the IYCE Awards. Since their inception in 2006, the IYCE Awards have helped highlight and connect more than 650 creative entrepreneurs from Indonesia with UK businesses and industry leaders. The awards have also given Indonesian entrepreneurs global exposure and helped them broaden their international networks.
“The IYCE Awards are designed to develop talented local entrepreneurs,” said Keith Davies, country director of the British Council in Indonesia. “We’ll help them grow their businesses through this program. In return, they’re expected to develop creative industries in Indonesia.”
The IYCE awards honor entrepreneurs from four creative industries — design, fashion, interactive media and film. The British Council has selected three judges for each category of the competition. They are professionals, academics and members of the media. They include Arief Suditomo, editor in chief of TV station RCTI, in the film category, and designer Edward Hutabarat in the fashion category.
This year, the British Council decided to broaden the awards’ age limit, which had required entrants to be between 25 and 35 years old, to between 21 and 40. “We’ve been seeing a lot of qualified applications from beyond those [previous] ages,’’ Elsa said. “That’s why this year we decided to give more opportunities to more people by broadening the age limit.’’
From the 153 applications received this year, the judges have selected 18 finalists. Among them are Affi Assegaf, owner of femaledaily.com, fashionesedaily.com and mommiesdaily.com, who is a finalist in the fashion and interactive media categories; Titis Sapto Raharjo, owner and editor of Movieholic Production, in the film category; and Mufti Alem, owner of Greeneration Indonesia, which produces environmentally friendly products, for the design category.
“I’m very impressed with all the candidates,’’ Arief said. “They’re all highly creative and have brilliant ideas.’’
“Their creativity and business minds are excellent,’’ Edward said. “Some of their products are lacking a sense of cultural identity. This is very important, as that is what gives Indonesian products their competitive edge.”
The finalists will go through one more judging phase from July 3 to 6, during which they will receive business coaching from experts and visit successful entrepreneurs and businesses.
On the final day, the finalists will give a presentation to the judges regarding their products and business concepts.
“They should highlight five key points — entrepreneurship, leadership, innovation, market awareness and international outlook — in their presentations to the judges,’’ Elsa said.
The names of the winners will be announced on July 6 at the IYCE Awards night, which will take place at the Pekan Produk Kreatif Indonesia (Indonesian Creative Product Week) at the Jakarta Convention Center. The winner in each category will get a seven-day, all-expenses-paid visit to the UK to inspire them with new ideas and introduce them to industry leaders and possible business partners.
“This is what Indonesian entrepreneurs need now,” Edward said. “We have to build on our international outlook. The UK is the place to do that because they have many international artists who can open doors for our local industries, allowing them to reach the global market.”
This year, the winner of the fashion category will attend London Fashion Week in September, while the winner of the design category will attend the London Design Festival, also in September. The winner of the film category will attend the London Film Festival in October, and the winner of the interactive media category will attend the Power to the Pixel workshop the same month.
“We’ve also designed specific programs as well as prearranged meetings and special events in which the winners will meet people in the creative industries in UK,” Elsa said. “They can present their ideas and products to these people and perhaps build the foundations for future collaborations.”
“We hope to become a bridge between the UK and local Indonesian businesses,” Davies said. “We want to develop Indonesian creative businesses to grow in the international market.”
Edward was upbeat about the future. “All of these industries are fueled by our minds, a resource that will never deplete or run out.”
For more information on the IYCE Awards 2011, visit www.thebritishcouncil.org.