Etika Cooperatives Help in Developing the Economy of the Enrekang Community through Service Innovations

Produsen Enrekang Timur Kasiturutan Cooperative, commonly referred to as Etika Cooperative, was established in January 2020 and is located in Ranga Village, Enrekang District, Enrekang Regency. Situated on the main road connecting Enrekang to Toraja, Etika Cooperative holds a strategic position with virtually no similar businesses in its vicinity. The cooperative operates two types of businesses, namely savings and loans, and wholesale, which are run concurrently. Continuous efforts are made to promote Etika Cooperative and its programs to attract as many members as possible. One of the cooperative's strengths lies in the number of its members. As of December 2023, the cooperative has reached 515 members.

The cooperative management regularly conducts outreach activities to promote the products available at Etika Cooperative. These efforts are aimed at attracting potential customers or kiosks that have not yet become members of the cooperative to partner with it. Kiosk owners can then order their merchandise from Etika Cooperative, which will deliver the ordered goods. As of the end of 2023, there are already 30 kiosks that have partnered with Etika Cooperative, spread across several districts. 

The development of cooperative businesses is carried out by building partnerships with several well-known companies. These partnerships are established to reduce costs or increase profit margins. Currently, Etika Cooperative has collaborated with several renowned food and beverage companies, including Wings, Campina, Aice, Indofood, Yakult, and Surya Nusantara.

The presence of Etika Cooperative has led to the emergence of several businesses in the community. This indicates that easier access to capital provides more opportunities for people to start businesses.
For example, Fitri (31 years old), a member of Etika Cooperative, has realized her long-standing dream of starting a business. She now operates a kiosk selling daily necessities. Previously, she worked at a bank in Makassar. 
Similarly, Mr. Arman (64 years old) started a laundry business after retiring from his job as a civil servant. His business has flourished with the support of Etika Cooperative. He has even added new clotheslines, which were previously limited to those at home. 
Mrs. Haslinda (40 years old) is another example of how her motorcycle repair business has grown. Before borrowing from the cooperative, the variety of items in her workshop was very limited. Now, the spare parts stock in her workshop is relatively complete. She has borrowed from Etika Cooperative four times, totaling 30 million rupiahs. Each time, she borrowed 5 million, 10 million, 5 million, and 10 million respectively.

Member of Etika Cooperative, Haslinda, with her family and her workshop business. Her daughter, Mutiara Aulia, who is currently in the first grade of elementary school, is also a child sponsored by Gugah Nurani Indonesia.

There have been socio-economic changes at the household level among members of the Etika Cooperative. These changes began with increased business capital, which also affected the level of business turnover. Almost all respondents stated that the proceeds from their businesses were used for their children's education. Not only for education, but the business proceeds were also used for healthcare needs. This was experienced by Mr. Abdul Gaffar (40 years old), a kiosk owner who sells workshop tools and agricultural equipment, whose wife was hospitalized for some time. Even one of the respondents (Mrs. Nurlinda, 32 years old) mentioned that the accumulated business proceeds were used to build a house. Similarly, Mrs. Diana (47 years old), a member of the Etika Cooperative since 2021, who has experienced the benefits of the Etika Cooperative. Her business has experienced development after borrowing capital from the cooperative. She has borrowed capital from the Etika Cooperative twice, each amounting to 3 million and 5 million rupiahs. She developed a food business (jalangkote) from a capital of 100 thousand rupiahs. This former honorary kindergarten teacher chose to sell jalangkote because it was liked by many people. Before becoming a cooperative member, she sold an average of 250 pieces per day. Meanwhile, after becoming a cooperative member, jalangkote could be sold at least 300 pieces per day and up to 600 pieces when it was busy.

One key factor in the popularity of the Etika Cooperative and the relatively successful businesses of its members is the innovative services developed by the cooperative. These include relatively affordable interest rates, varied installment schemes, and mentoring services.. Among the many microfinance services in Enrekang Regency, these services can be considered the best. The interest rates are relatively affordable and competitive (18% per year, decreasing). The Etika Cooperative is only surpassed by the People's Business Credit (KUR) service, which has an interest rate of 6-9% per year. The Etika Cooperative offers monthly, three-monthly, six-monthly, and yearly installment schemes. These schemes are intended to accommodate the needs of the community based on their income sources. Mentoring services are an integral part of the Etika Cooperative's business development. These services start with consulting for prospective cooperative members who want to develop their businesses. Many people feel confused about which type of business is most suitable for development. After becoming members and accessing funding, they are not left alone but are accompanied, monitored, and their products are marketed by the cooperative.

Written By: Yosfialdi
Edited by: FD Team

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