Empowering women through finance

For many blue-collar workers in Indonesia, the morning routine consists of waking up at 4:00 am, grabbing a quick breakfast on the road and starting work before the sun rises. Erva Novaria, 37 years old and a mother of three children, is one of many early-morning street food vendors in Bekasi City, West Java. Many people rely on her tasty meals on their way to work.

In 2014, Erva was a cashier at a local supermarket and realized her salary could not cover her family’s expenses anymore, so she decided to quit and open her own business. Together with her parents, Erva started selling Indonesian traditional breakfast meals from 4:30 am onwards. In 2018, Erva became a client of Mitra Bina Keluarga “MBK” Ventura, a microfinancing institution in Indonesia, with a starting loan of IDR 2,000,000 (approximately USD 140).

Like many entrepreneurs around the world, Erva’s business took a hard hit due to the pandemic. In March 2020, her daily revenue plummeted from IDR 400,000 (USD 28) to about IDR 200,000 (USD 14). In light of the situation, MBK rearranged Erva’s payment schedule, allowing her more time to repay the loan. She has since paid back the loan in full to the institution and requested a new loan. Erva is grateful that business is back to normal. She is hoping that this year she will save enough money to buy a smartphone, which will enable her to list her business on online food delivery platforms and potentially increase her income.