Many Balinese women run micro and small-scale businesses – often without even considering themselves as business women. These women sell everyday commodities in small warungs, sell jamu on the streets, run spa salons, laundry services as well as souvenir shops. Above all, they are relentlessly dedicated to meet their families’ and their own financial needs. Despite all of their efforts, due to lack of formal training in business or financial matters, these women are not equipped with the necessary economic knowledge to get the most out of their businesses.

In order to gain a deeper insight and perspective on how women manage their small-scale businesses in conjunction with caring for their families, a research endeavor has been launched in the Nusa Dua and Denpasar area. In addition to providing vital information on the dynamics of their daily lives, this research also aims to show us how the women’s businesses have financially impacted their families’ welfare.

In gaining this in depth information, we aim to design much needed business education programs. This would greatly benefit the women entrepreneurs to generate profit and create a more sustainable business.

Food Peddler Lady – Mrs. Nur

Ibu Nur (Mrs. Nur) is a 60 years old mobil food street peddler from Kampial, Nusa Dua. Riding her bicycle, she makes and sells homemade sticky rice cakes, serombotan (traditional salad), and crackers to her regular costumers around Nusa Dua area, every day.

Despite her elder age, she starts the day early every morning cooking her rice cakes and preparing other foods for sale. She then loads her bicycle, hurries out and spending all day, selling her tasty foods, covering over 10 kilometers. She returns home in the evening, and prepares her ingredients ready for the following morning. She has been running the business for the past 20 year in order to support the family’s finances. Her self-guestimation net profit, of Rp. 100.000 per day does not go far. Even with all her hard work, life remains a struggle.

Cook and Sell (Warung Nasi Kuning) – Mrs Suastini 

Originally from Eastern Bali area, Karangasem, Komang Putu Suastini, 33, moved to Denpasar upon getting married in 2007. Unfortunately, due to her family situation, she was limited to only attending primary school (SD). Due to these unfortunate circumstances, Mrs. Suastini lacks the skills to obtain a proper job.

Despite her disadvantaged situation, this did not stop Mrs. Suastini from supporting her family. In 2010, she opened a small stall on Jalan Ahmad Yani Utara where she sells her homemade yellow rice (nasikuning). In the beginning, her stall consisted only of a desk and a beach umbrella on the sidewalk, however within 2 years she was able to rent a small area in which to build a modest shop. Mrs. Suastini’s shop now carries a variety of products for sale. She has increased her net income to Rp. 150.000-Rp. – 250.000 Rp. per day. Her nasi kuning shop opens from 6.00 AM to 10.00 AM on a daily basis. With her operational hours and income she is better able to care for her child and provide financial support to her family.

Laundry – Mrs Ari

Nyoman Ari Astiti is a mother of 2 children from Banjar Pemalukan, Ahmad Yani, Denpasar. Married at a very young age, Mrs. Ari did not have the opportunity to pursue a formal career regardless of the fact she was a senior high school graduate. As her husband’s salary as a driver could not cover the family’s expenses, Mrs. Ari struggled to look for a job which was flexible enough to allow her to take care of her children and family.

In the beginning of 2015, together with her cousin, Mrs. Ari opened a laundry business at Jalan Ahmad Yani Utara No. 327, Denpasar that required an initial capital of Rp. 25.000.000. She has been working in shifts with her cousin in order to run the business and care for her family. The laundry has maintained a healthy amount of repeat customers around the Jalan Ahmad Yaniand Banjar Pemalukan area and can earn a gross income of around Rp. 300.000 daily.

Warung – Mrs Sumiati

Owning a small stall (warung) in a very strategic area on Jalan Siligita, Nusa Dua, is not enough to help Ni Made Sumiati earn sufficient income to support her family’s financial needs. The 29 years old woman sells a variety of drinks including coffee and tea as well as food items such as young coconut, snacks and crackers to the passing drivers who cross the Siligita Road. Her warung currently sits on a piece of land owned by the local banjar and she has been able to run her business because of the banjar’s generosity.

Competing with franchised minimarkets nearby, her warung struggles to attract customers. The warung’s approximate daily gross income is very uncertain. It can vary from Rp. 50.000 to Rp. 180.000 daily. There are times when Mrs. Sumiati incurs financial losses. This occurs when there are very few customers and her 4 year old child that she has to bring to the warung keeps asking for snacks. The future of Mrs. Sumiati’s warung seems getting darker as the light from the nearby minimarkets get brighter.

As this research aims to portray the life of women who are running various kind of small businesses in Bali, we exert to come back to you next week with more stories of inspiring mothers and women who pull off their best in supporting their families.

Written by:

Ni Made Dwi Dharmiyanti, or usually known as Dwi is a Balinese girl from Denpasar. Passionate about the environment and women empowerment, this final year Management Student decided to take her passion into action by joining ROLE Foundation as an Intern and volunteer in August 2018.