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NUS Enterprise

Triple the Life at BLOCK71 Indonesia

Agustin, who has been with NUS Enterprise since September 2017, has a herculean task of managing BLOCK71 Indonesia in three different cities – Jakarta, Bandung and Yogyakarta. Originally from Jakarta, Agustin came to Singapore in 1997, growing up as a Katong girl in the East Coast neighbourhood.  Having been in Singapore for 20 years before returning to Jakarta in 2017, she considers herself a proud “Indo-porean”.

Trained as a biomedical engineer, Agustin started working in the healthcare industry where she gathered cross-functional experience in IT programming, R&D chemistry and manufacturing. She later worked as a business development manager, developing business plans for portable heart monitoring devices and wearable artificial kidneys, with a professor at NUS.

For the past two and a half years, Agustin has been a community builder in BLOCK71 Jakarta, where she focused on building values for the tech start-up community, not just in Jakarta, but in other cities like Bandung and Yogyakarta. She is also keen to champion and empower more women to build a career in technology. BLOCK71 is an initiative by NUS Enterprise in collaborative and strategic partnerships with established corporations and government agencies. In Indonesia, BLOCK71 partners with Innovation Factory, part of the Salim Group Conglomerate, to catalyse, aggregate and develop competencies of the start-up community.

Indonesia produces the highest number of unicorns – privately held start-up companies  valued at over $1 billion – in Southeast Asia such as delivery app Gojek, online travel site Traveloka, e-wallet provider Ovo and online marketplaces Bukalapak and Tokopedia.  Hence, Agustin considers it her mission to have BLOCK71 Indonesia as the gateway connector for both Singapore’s and Indonesia’s start-ups to leverage NUS Enterprise’s global entrepreneurial hubs and initiatives. These initiatives include access to funding, validation programmes, incubation space, business competitions, talent and conferences.

Indeed, each city’s ecosystem is distinct with its own specific strengths and unique qualities. Jakarta, being the capital and the main point of entry into the Indonesian market, has a more mature start-up environment. Bandung, home to the Institute Technology of Bandung, produces top-notch IT and creative talent, and has a vibrant “hacker” community. Yogyakarta, a city of culture and heritage, boasts of a young educated population who is keen to create innovative technology and make an impact in society.

triple 2 Agustin (seated 5th from left) with participants from 17 Singapore companies at BLOCK71 Jakarta Tech Showcase Day Smart Cities Edition

Agustin’s life at BLOCK71 Jakarta is never boring. Some of her more memorable events included the BLOCK71 Jakarta Tech Showcase Day and Market Validation Programme in October 2019, which was jointly organised by the Infocomm Media Development Authority and Enterprise Singapore. Together with the BLOCK71 Indonesia team from Singapore, she facilitated the market immersion of some 34 Singapore companies in Jakarta and connected them with key decision-makers who were looking for innovative, market-ready solutions. This resulted in some companies conducting Proof-of-Concept projects with Indonesian conglomerates.

Another highlight was the recent visit of Singapore President Madam Halimah Yacob to BLOCK71 Yogyakarta on 6 February 2020. Madam Halimah was visiting Yogyakarta as part of a four-day state visit to Indonesia to strengthen bilateral ties and areas of potential business collaborations between Indonesia and Singapore. “My interaction with Madam Halimah during the visit is something I would treasure always,” Agustin shared.

Finally, we couldn’t resist asking Agustin which is her favourite touristy spot in Indonesia. “Nothing beats weekend downtime at the magnificent Borobudur temple, one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites”, she quipped.

triple 3 Agustin (front row 2nd from right) with fellow colleagues from BLOCK71 Jakarta, Bandung and Yogyakarta


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