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Young and rich in Indonesia

By Sara Sidner, CNN
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Young and rich in Indonesia
  • Around half of Indonesia's population is under 29
  • Young entrepreneurs are helping to fuel the country's economic boom
  • Some like frozen yogurt chain owner Donny Pramono looking to expand abroad
  • Poverty and lack of education for wider population still a problem

(CNN) -- Ligwina Hananto wakes up at 5am for morning prayers with her family, gets the kids off to school, and then charges off to work on the several other jobs she is actually paid to do.

"Most people only have dreams and dreams are goals without a deadline, without any action. So that doesn't work, if you want to dream something, you dream big and then you make it into a goal and so you set a deadline, when you want to have it and how you want to achieve it, and then you start working on it," Hananto said.

She doesn't just dream big, she executes and that is exactly what she advises her clients at QM Financial to do. In her late 20's Hananto went from being a stay at home mom to running her own company that now boasts hundreds of clients.

"It took time and after thirteen clients I ran out of cousins to contact! So I said to my partners at that time, 'we need to expand to different areas here,'" said Hananto.

We call this the 'demographic dividend', which I think will put us in good shape to have productivity increases for 20 years.
--Marie Pangestu, Indonesia's Trade Minister
  • Asia
  • Indonesia
  • Jakarta
  • Culture and Lifestyle

She ended up marching down to a local radio station in Jakarta and throwing out an idea.

"I said to them, 'I want this to be an honest radio talk show [host]; if one company wants to sell their products and if I think that product sucks, I get to say it on air.' And they loved it; they were like, 'Oh like Suzie Ormond?' 'Yes, yes, like Suzie Ormond but with the hijab,' I said."

Hananto is a practicing Muslim and one of Indonesia's young movers and shakers.

She says when her traditional Muslim husband wanted her to stay at home and be a mother and housewife, she agreed. With the pressure of having to make money off her shoulders Hananto said it gave her the ability to dream and try out different businesses.

She tried seven different business, all failed. Then she found her passion by remembering what she loved doing when she was in school.

"Actually when I was in high school, I actually wrote down when I grow up I wanted to become a businesswoman who works with people's money. I didn't even know that there's a profession as a financial planner," she said.

The Indonesian government is banking on people like Hananto. Indonesia is betting on its young minds to help its economy boom in the coming years. Half of Indonesia's population is under 29-years-old.

"We call this the 'demographic dividend', which I think will put us in good shape to have productivity increases for the next ten, fifteen, even 20 years in the future," Marie Pangestu, Indonesia's Trade Minister, told CNN.

Donny Pramono fits into that demographic. At 26-years-old he capitalized on something he thought was missing from Indonesia's marketplace.

"They didn't really believe yogurt was going to be a big hit," Pramono said. Investors didn't believe then but they do now. In two and a half years, Pramono's "Sour Sally" brand yogurt has gone from one store to 26 in Indonesia and it's about to go international opening its first store in Singapore in December.

But there are still hurdles for Indonesia's young people. About 14 percent of the population still lives below the country's poverty line and poverty is most concentrated among those with little or no formal education. Pangestu warns the education system needs to be improved to give its up-and-comers the tools to compete.

As for young CEO's Hananto and Pramono they brought back business know how from universities abroad and have been experiencing the taste of success ever since.

"Because I started young and I'm still young I think success is not just a destination for me," Pramono said. "Success is a journey, and so it's never ending."