Jakarta: The Ministry of Cooperatives, Small, and Medium-Scale Enterprises has signed an agreement with the Nahdlatul Ulama Executive Board (PBNU) to encourage entrepreneurship at Islamic boarding schools (pesantren).
"Pesantren have enormous potential to back the country's economy through the development of entrepreneurship among their students," Cooperatives, Small, and Medium-Scale Enterprises Minister Teten Masduki said, according to a statement released here on Friday.
He made the statement at the commemoration of NU's 99th anniversary at Syaichona Cholil Islamic boarding school in Bangkalan, Madura, East Java.
The memorandum of understanding (MoU), according to Masduki, is a concrete step for the implementation of Presidential Regulation No. 2/2022 on national entrepreneurship development in 2021–2024 that is targeting a growth in the entrepreneurship ratio of 3.95 percent by 2024.
In developed countries, the entrepreneurship ratio has reached 10–14 percent, the minister noted.
"PBNU said it is targeting to create 10 thousand new entrepreneurs; in fact, I said it was a small number. (Based on) The number of santri (pesantren students) scattered throughout Indonesia, I think, together we can create more (entrepreneurs) than that," he said.
New entrepreneurs would be groomed through the incubation approach under the ministry's existing program, he informed. Meanwhile, financing for them can be synergized with the State Enterprises Ministry, he said.
In addition, the ministry is also running a micro loan (KUR) program, he informed. "Banks have also been asked to increase their financing to MSMEs (micro, small, and medium enterprises) to 30 percent in 2024," Masduki pointed out.
Currently, the ministry is conducting an experiment at the Al-Ittifaq Islamic Boarding School Cooperative Unit (Koppontren), West Java, one of the cooperative units in the food sector that is connected to the modern market, to implement the ministry's task of developing koppontren, he informed.
Likewise, a boarding school in Lamongan, East Java, has a cooperative unit that connects 17 other Islamic boarding schools in East Java, akin to a modern retail network, he said.
In 2020 and 2021, the results of mapping by the Research and Development Center for Religious and Religious Education showed that 90.48 percent of the 11,868 Islamic boarding schools already have business units, the minister noted.
In fact, he said, as many as 2.58 percent of pesantren are operating three to five types of businesses.
"We can build strong synergy and collaboration, so it will have a big impact on economic development in Indonesia. Including those coming from the pesantren environment," Masduki remarked.
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