North America Asean Consultants Inc.

Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia

March 09, 2017 15:27 ET

Why Entrepreneurs from the World's 10th Largest Economy Are Investing in B.C.

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - March 9, 2017) - "Growth and globalization create need for entrepreneurs to look beyond their homeland," says Albert Wijaya, who co-founded Ersons Food with his brother in 2014. The Jakarta-based restaurant group currently operates nine restaurants under the Holy Smokes and Holy Crab brands.

"We want to bring our restaurant concept to Vancouver because there's abundant fresh seafood. The city is culturally diverse with a vibrant culinary scene. It's a good test market for us," says the amiable Wijaya whose Louisiana-inspired seafood restaurant, Holy Crab, recently opened its first North American location to rave reviews - on Vancouver's thriving Robson Street. "It's been exciting and a learning curve. I'm happy that our concept is well-received here," says Wijaya. He hopes to expand to other B.C. locations in the future.

Appeasing coffee cravers in B.C. is big business. The café landscape is competitive, but for Liza Wajong of Nusa Coffee, investing in the artisanal coffee business means more than lucrative profit. It's about sharing good coffee in a responsible, ethical and sustainable way - while elevating brand awareness for her native land. Five percent of their earnings go back to their partners operating family-owned farms in Indonesia. "If we can grow the community both here and in Indonesia, then why not?" said Wajong in her interview with the Vancouver Sun.

Indonesia's economy continues to register strong growth, mainly due to its solid economic policies and increased household consumption - it remains among the highest in large emerging market economies, says the International Monetary Fund in its latest report. The world's fourth most populous nation economy grew from 4.8% in 2015 to 5 percent for 2016. According to the World Bank, Indonesia, a G-20 member, is also the world's 10th largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity.

"It's time for B.C. to give more attention to Indonesia because of its strategic position and being the largest country in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region," says Consul General Sri Wiludjeng of the Republic of Indonesia in Vancouver. In 2015, the B.C. government established an ASEAN office in Jakarta signifying the importance of Indonesia's role in the region.

"We are happy and appreciate Indonesian entrepreneurs' investment and contribution to the B.C. economy. Companies like Casamia and Axia Distribution have chosen B.C. for their head office and distribution centre," adds Nina Kurnia, Consul for Economic Affairs. "Expanding Indonesian business in B.C. can enhance the bilateral trade relationship between Indonesia and the province," continues Kurnia. Statistics Canada revealed that in 2016, B.C. imported CAD$ 343,059,831 from Indonesia and exported CAD$ 253,925,622 in merchandise trade.

Sharing the focus on sustainability is Livia Chriestianto, Marketing Director of Casamia, a Coquitlam-based furniture and home décor wholesaler. "Our imported furniture is made from re-claimed and re-purposed Indonesian fishing boats, non-fruiting mango trees, teakwood roots and petrified wood.

"We only deal with small Indonesian artisans or factories producing quality hand-crafted designs and products that meet the market demand at a fair trade price. In a sense, we're making a social impact by preserving and showcasing the artisans' crafts and supporting their income - while creating profit alongside."

The company started out in Bali supplying to Williams-Sonoma and other giant U.S. retailers. Four years ago, they set up business in B.C. and began pursuing the Canadian market. Having lived in San Francisco, Chriestianto says Vancouver with its ocean, mountains and multicultural population makes her feel at home.

Like Chriestianto, it was the B.C. lifestyle that attracted Axia Distribution owner Utomo Kuntjoro to establish his rubber and anti-fatigue mat business in B.C., says Andre Sidharta who manages Axia's division, Creativematic, a Richmond-based logo mat printing business.

About The Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia, Vancouver

The Consulate was officially opened on November 20, 1982. Since then, the Consulate has actively conducted various trade and investment promotion activities, in collaboration with related institutions and Indonesian business entities in B.C. in the endeavour to accelerate bilateral ties with B.C.

Contact Information