Businesspersons from Indonesia and Singapore will be attending the inaugural Indonesia-Singapore Business Forum 2014 on 26 February 2014. Business Indonesia-Singapore Association (BISA) has organised a series of 10 monthly events starting from February consisting of talks and presentations by experts from both countries on a wide range of subjects useful for entrepreneurs and those wanting to set up a business or market their products into Singapore and beyond.

There will also be networking opportunities with a difference as MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) businesses from East Java will be coming here to assess prospects in Singapore and the export markets for their products. According to Stephanus Widjaja, one of three founders of BISA (see box story), “BISA has been building up its network of contacts and resources for the last three years. Singapore’s size and position as a logistics have its advantages. In terms of scale, you do not have to be spending thousands of dollars participating in exhibitions to reach the local business community.”

BISA was founded by a trio of Indonesian entrepreneurs based here: Stephanus Widjaja, a professional trainer and business consultant; Eka Mardiarty who runs her own IT business and Linawaty, a financial advisor. They believe they can make a difference in helping bridge business opportunities especially between Indonesian MSMEs and Singapore businesses. This year is especially significant because BISA anticipated major changes in the way Indonesian companies will have to do business as the ASEAN Free Trade Area takes effect in 2015.

According to Stephanus, “We will cross a major milestone in 2015 when AFTA comes into effect – the complete liberalisation of trade in the region. The elimination of both intra-regional tariffs and non-tariff barriers will have a huge impact on all businesses. On the whole, if we are prepared for it, AFTA should contribute towards making ASEAN’s businesses especially the manufacturing sectors more efficient and competitive in the global marketplace.

AFTA 2015

In fact, when the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) was agreed upon at the 1992 ASEAN Summit in Singapore the main objectives were to create a single market and an international production base, attract foreign direct investments and expand intra-ASEAN trade and investments. It was also to leverage on the huge potential and synergies that exist in the region in order to strengthen and deepen intra-ASEAN industrial linkages as well as create strong and competitive small and medium enterprises.

Singapore is ideally positioned to collaborate with Indonesian companies as the island in terms of size, especially its manufacturing hinterland, is limited. He said, “There is a good opportunity to bring a bigger dimension to business here as Indonesia is a super-sized manufacturing powerhouse that continues to grow. It is a matter of assessing which areas are you interested in and that’s where BISA comes in – to match both sides.” The regular monthly Business Forums launched in February provides this opportunity.

Meet & Match

For Singaporeans attending the business forum, it will be an excellent opportunity to interact with a wider section of Indonesian nationalities and industry profiles. And, those who attend do not have to be a formal member to participate in BISA’s monthly talks. The Association has found out such an approach has worked very well for its events in the past.”

Another dimension to the Forum this year is support by Bank UMKM of East Java which has appointed BISA as its authorised representative here for securing investment funding for the Bank as well as seeking Importers/Buyers for the MSME products from East Java funded by the Bank.

Indonesia offers a wealth of brands and products that can enter the regional and world markets. He gave an example, “In Indonesia who has not heard of Jamu Sido Muncul? It is famous. However, if you bring one of its products into a market like Singapore, such as its excellent herbal Jamu Tolak Angin, who will buy it? To succeed here you might have to go into branding and marketing. Any Indonesian company using Singapore to launch and market their products can benefit from attaining world-class standards in product-marketing development before launching it in other markets in Asia, Europe or America.


BISA also takes it a step further by having in place a set of ready packages to offer Indonesian companies wishing to start a business in Singapore that feature facilities and services that includes business registrations, virtual and physical offices, meeting venues, marketing consultancy and whatever else a company new to Singapore might need to have to start here. Depending on what is required, the range of services starts from $100 per month to $6,500 per year to set up a private limited company registered in Singapore.

Another area in which BISA helps Singaporeans is in getting them acquainted with Indonesian business culture. He explained, “Businesses can hit unexpected roadblocks. We have given advice and insights into the how-to-do of business relationships with Indonesian companies. For example, Singapore companies have a habit of placing speed above all else in their business dealings. They must take the time to get to know one another.”


Stephanus highlighted the fact that ‘sustainabilty’ in all its activities and programme is very important to BISA for the long term. Central to this is the belief that BISA must have a sustainable business model away from the ‘one-man-show’ syndrome that might characterise other organisations or associations. He said that is why BISA has a committed core of three executive founder members (see accompanying story) and a network of strategic partners to carry out business programmes. To date, BISA has entered into strategic partnerships with Fortune Pramana Rancang, Universitas Ciputra Surabaya, Indosat and Bank UMKM for its activities.

The main objectives of the Association are to provide a bridge to help Indonesia and Singapore entrepreneurs to expand their business here. It is doing this by providing resources and informative platform to help business growth such as its monthly business forums. It also has a role as a facilitator and coordinator for joint-events to help companies in leveraging on BISA network and contacts. Finally, it also acts an incubator for entrepreneurs and a learning platform to share knowledge and experiences as inspiration.

For more information on BISA, visit their website at
To attend Indonesia-Singapore Business Forum 2014, visit:

BISA Founder

Stephanus Widjaja is a graduate from STMIK LIKMI Bandung, and also alumni from SMA Mardi Yuana Bogor / Seminari Stella Maris Bogor. He has taught at several leading schools in Bandung. In Singapore, he is now managing Revival Network, which is specialised in providing Indonesia-Singapore business matching and representative of several Indonesian companies in Singapore.
Linawaty is an Indonesian and Singapore PR. A Nanyang Technological University graduate with Master in Technopreneurship & Innovation, she is the Independent Financial Adviser at Financial Alliance Pte Ltd, directly registered under MAS’s Representative Notification Framework (RNF).
Eka Mardiarti is an Indonesian who has been living in Singapore for 10 years. She graduated from Shatec, Singapore with a Diploma in Hotel Management and Deakin University, Australia with a Bachelor Degree in International Business, with a major in Marketing. With more than six years experience in the IT industry, she is the founder of EStorm Technologies Pte Ltd providing web solutions in Indonesia, Philippines and Sri Lanka.

English to Indo

Pelaku bisnis dari Indonesia dan Singapore akan menghadiri peluncuran perdana Indonesia-Singapore Business Forum 2014 pada tanggal 26 Februari 2014. Business Indonesia-Singapore Association (BISA) atau Asosiasi Bisnis Indonesia-Singapura telah mengorganisir serangkaian 10 acara bulanan mulai bulan Februari yang terdiri dari acara perbincangan dan persentasi oleh para ahli dari kedua negara dalam berbagai topic yang akan berguna untuk usahawan dan mereka yang ingin mendirikan bisnis atau memasarkan produk mereka ke Singapura dan sekitarnya.

Akan ada juga kesempatan yang berbeda untuk menjalin networking karena Perusahaan-Perusahaan Mikro, Kecil, dan Menengah dari Jawa Timur akan hadir untuk menilai prospek bisnis di Singapura dan pasar ekspor untuk produk mereka menurut Stephanus Widjaja, salah satu dari tiga pendiri BISA (dua lainnya adalah Ms Linawaty dan Ms Eka Mardiarty).

Tahun ini adalah tahun yang sangat signifikan karena Free Trade Area (Kawasan Perdagangan Bebas) ASEAN mulai berlaku pada tahun 2015. Menurut Stephanus, “Penghapusan tarif antar-regional dan hambatan non-tarif tentu akan berdampak pada semua bisnis. Secara keseluruhan, jika kita siap, AFTA (ASEAN Free Trade Area) semestinya membantu dalam membuat bisnis-bisnis di ASEAN, terutama dalam bidang kepabrikan, lebih efisien dan kompetitif di pasar global.”

BISA juga mengambil langkah lebih lanjut dengan menyiapkan paket-paket untuk menawarkan perusahaan-perusahaan Indonesia yang ingin memulai bisnis di Singapura yang menampilkan fasilitas-fasilitas dan pelayanan-pelayanan yang merangkum pendaftaran bisnis, kantor-kantor secara fisik maupun virtual, tempat-tempat pertemuan, konsultasi marketing, dan hal-hal lain yang mungking dibutuhkan oleh perusahaan yang masih baru di Singapura untuk memulai usahanya di sini. Tergantung pada apa yang dibutuhkan, berbagai pelayanan mulai dari memiliki alamat di Orchard Road yang ramai mulai dari $100 per bulan hingga $6.500 per tahun sampai mendirikan perusahaan swasta yang terdaftar di Singapura.

Bidang lain di mana BISA telah membantu penduduk Singapura adalah untuk lebih mengenal budaya bisnis Indonesia. Ia menjelaskan, “Bisnis bisa saja mendapatkan hambatan yang tak terduga. Kami telah memberikan nasehat-nasehat dan wawasan-wawasan mengenai seluk-beluk hubungan bisnis dengan perusahaan-perusahaan Indonesia. Contohnya, perusahaan-perusahaan Singapura memiliki kebiasaan menomor satukan kecepatan di atas segalanya dalam urusan bisnis mereka. Mereka harus meluangkan waktu untuk mengenal satu sama lain.