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World class player in the Indonesian digital economy

Telstra Business Women's Awards

Posted on October 21, 2016

4 min read

This year, we are thrilled to be extending the Telstra Business Women’s Awards into Asia. To celebrate, Charlene Leung, Communications Manager, North Asia, Telstra, caught up with some of the finalists. This week she chats with Shinta Witoyo Dhanuwardoyo, founder and CEO of Bubu.com, a serial tech entrepreneur and start-up mentor from Indonesia.

Twenty years ago in Indonesia, internet penetration was only 0.1%[1]. Today, it’s predicted that the country will house half of Southeast Asia’s e-commerce in the next ten years – so naturally everyone is eyeing the opportunities in Indonesia’s digital economy.

Changes in Indonesia’s technology landscape have been huge in the past 20 years. In the era of evolution, passion and persistence are what people need to be successful. Shinta Witoyo Dhanuwardoyo, a serial tech entrepreneur and start-up mentor from Indonesia, has it all.

With her passion for shaping and developing the tech landscape of Indonesia, Shinta has pioneered a plethora of companies during her 20 years in the tech industry, including one of the first internet companies in the country, Bubu.com.

Bubu.com was founded in 1996 by Shinta as a web design agency, and later evolved into a full-service digital creative agency as Indonesia experienced technology advancement. Currently it provides services such as digital integrated campaign, web and mobile design services, and digital and social media strategy.

Manchester United Football Club was Bubu.com’s first international client. The club hired Shinta’s team to handle the Malaysian and Indonesian social media accounts.

Shinta remembers: “The client had set my team a goal of achieving 30,000 new followers within a month. We achieved it within one day of opening the accounts.” She believes that quick execution of ideas, thinking outside the box and being creative were what made them succeed. This is always how she leads her team to work.

Looking beyond her own company, Shinta has a vision to put Indonesia on the global digital map and develop the country’s digital economy.

One of her contributions to this is the Bubu Awards, which she founded in 2001 to honour web design and digital campaigns. The event has since become a three-day event workshop, conference and exhibition called IDByte. It is attended by digital industry heavyweights such as Google and Facebook.

Shinta is also a strong supporter of startups around Indonesia. For the last two years, IDByte has held Startup Hunt across four cities in Indonesia, in search for the best startup in the country.

“What makes the hunt worthwhile is finding winners who are incredibly talented and hard-working entrepreneurs. One of the prizes of the program is a mentorship with me. As their mentor, I’m always proud to see their growth and relentless effort to become a world-class startup.”

“The experience of both success and failure has made me a true entrepreneur at heart and I share with others my ability to create strategies and set short and long-term goals,” she says.

Giving her mentees honest and direct feedback is important to her and she doesn’t hesitate to tell them when she thinks an idea may or may not work.

Shinta’s footprint is not limited to the Southeast Asian tech industry. She co-founded Silicon Valley Asia Technology Alliance, a non-profit company based in San Francisco to connect the flow of ideas, exchange and collaborations of the tech industry in the region, with Silicon Valley. Earlier this year, she also co-founded VCNetwork.co, a US-based comprehensive database of venture capitalists who are seeking viable startups to fund and bridge the gap between VCs and innovative start-ups.

Outside of these roles, Shinta is also on the board of advisors of the The Nature Conservancy Indonesia, which, she says, pushes her to think more about how people impact the environment.

Talking about her business success, she prides herself for her three core values: integrity, tenacity and hard work. She has always put in effort to achieve her goals and when faced with challenges, she pivots and adapts.

Shinta says that if she won the 2016 Telstra Business Woman in Asia Award, she would use it to inspire others, especially aspiring women tech entrepreneurs.

“In this day and age, women should no longer be afraid or lack confidence in pursuing a career in a traditionally male-dominated field. I believe that your gender should not matter, when it comes to success. It’s all about your actions and execution,” she says.

Shinta is one of seven inaugural finalists for the Telstra Business Woman in Asia category; the winner will be announced on Wednesday 16 November in Melbourne.

For more information on the Telstra Business Woman in Asia Award or to nominate brilliant business women for the 2017 Awards, visit telstrabusinesswomensawards.com/

[1] http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/IT.NET.USER.P2?end=2015&locations=ID&start=1996