Women in Entrepreneurship: Helianti Hilman of Javara

In the spirit of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) last November 14–20, 2016 — Endeavor Indonesia participates in the celebration by highlighting one of the year’s theme: Women in Entrepreneurship. #GEWWomen

GEW Women: Inspiring Entrepreneurs + Investors

As communities and countries increasingly encourage entrepreneurs who create jobs, women can be a catalyst for large-scale economic growth — not just in countries where the basic rights of women are a struggle, but in developed economies as well. Studies have shown that women have lower levels of involvement in high-growth entrepreneurship than men, and research suggests that accelerating the rates of female entrepreneurship could have the same positive effect that the entry of women into the labor force had during the 20th century.

GEW Women celebrates female entrepreneurs, investors, and others in the space while offering opportunities to expand their networks, identify resources and share knowledge with women around the world. During Global Entrepreneurship Week, we will highlight powerful voices and ambassadors that promote the increase of women entrepreneurs; events, activities, and competitions targeted toward women in entrepreneurship; and GEN’s partner organizations that are playing active roles in the space.

Endeavor Indonesia’s entrepreneur Helianti Hilman of Javara shares her thoughts.

In a nutshell, what do you do & what are you trying to solve/ achieve with it?

I am building a supply chain that brings rural unique and premium food products with origin-specific characteristics to the wider market both domestically and internationally. By mobilizing consumer participation in buying these products, we aim to keep alive food biodiversity heritage. We capitalize on the vast range of biodiversity to create delectable food products for health-conscious consumers.

What motivated you to do what you are doing?

The dedications of old indigenous farmers who wish that the God-given subsidy in the form of food biodiversity can be passed on to future generations. They believe that every single biodiversity comes with a purpose.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Someone that can make other people happy.

When I face big challenges….

I take time to meditate and pray, allowing myself to do self-reflection and seeking God’s guidance and strength in facing the challenges.

What do you do to stay inspired?

Maintaining the integrity of the vision, regardless that the company is growing and most of the work already delegated, but I keep connected directly with some of the existing grass-root partners/farmers and engage in the onboarding of the new partners. Each of them has its stories and wisdom. I still travel and engage with them.

How do you prevent burnout?

Be happy, balancing work, family, friends, and personal space. Love cooking whenever I am stressed out.

Can you tell us about any habits you have/ things you do that set up success every day?

Sense of curiosity and working continuously on new ideas/innovations.

What is a trip that has changed your mind and why?

3-months roadshow to visit indigenous farmers across Java and Bali. This is a complete pilgrimage journey, being exposed and have the experience of a spiritual-based agriculture/food production system that is grander than just the standard organic farming.

What is a strategy you use to keep focused & productive?

Keep reminding myself of the reason why I was doing this in the first place, and what is the goal I want to achieve. When you are faced with a creativity block, how do you overcome it? I think this is not the issue for me. I am having too many creative ideas and solutions. The issue us more to set up the priorities.

What does work-life balance mean to you?

It means so much, and basically, it is achieved when you have the full liberty to make the choice on when and how we make the balance.

What lesson can people learn from your journey?

Exploring the world, trying out different things, and exposing ourselves to different people, places, and cultures is the ammunition to explore our own potential.

My favorite quote….

“It does not matter what you want to do/become, just be the best in it. Never settle for less” (actually I heard this over and over from my father, Hilman Najib)

What is a book that has changed your mind about work?


What are you learning now?

To become a more effective leader and entrepreneur.

If you could redo what you’re doing right now, what would you do differently?

Nothing, because each thing I have done/gone through in the past, either good or bad, either ending up to success or failures contributed to what I have achieved today.

What are your general thoughts on women entrepreneurs in Indonesia?

Fearless. We practically do not face glass ceiling gender issues as strong as in other countries (including in developed countries such as the US). Based on my experience Meritocracy prevail in many professional and business environment in Indonesia.

See also this post on the Endeavor Indonesia website

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