Migrants and business influencers are the most effective connectors for increasing prosperity

To tweet this news, copy and paste http://news.mstr.cd/1Q7hUea to your Twitter handle with the hashtags #EconomicInclusion and #Indonesia

Jakarta , 20 April 2015 – At the World Economic Forum on East Asia 2015, MasterCard is unveiling the initial insights from The Connectors Project, a new study on the role of networks in Indonesia. The Connectors Project asks how people move to greater economic inclusion, and crucially, who helps them on that journey.

The on-the-ground research in Indonesia found that the five key connectors in an individuals’ network are: The Mentor, The Introducer, The Migrator, The Role Model and The Business Influencer. These are the people who provide ideas, support, and knowledge to those seeking greater economic inclusion for themselves and their families.

The most important are The Migrator and The Business Influencer. It is these connectors who have the highest capacity to impact the journey toward prosperity and inclusion.

  • Migrators are unique because they have ties to communities beyond where they live and work. In particular they connect people to remittances, which have been singled out as the key to using payments products and hence moving toward a more formal financial system.
  • Business Influencers play a critical role by connecting people to formal bank services and government services. They were also shown to be the key connectors for accessing capital, introductions to new networks and connectors, and influencing the journey toward opportunity at scale.

By identifying the connectors and the points on the inclusion journey at which they provide the maximum leverage, the research provides a window onto the situation on the ground in the developing world.This represents a fundamentally different approach from top-down inclusion programs. By mapping the journeys as it exists on the ground, The Connectors Project allows governments, NGOs and private business to reach the maximum number of subjects for inclusion and address the actual challenges they feel they face.

Matthew Driver, President, South East Asia for MasterCard said: “This report takes an in-depth human centred approach to studying inclusion by asking individuals who have transitioned from being financially excluded to participating in the formal economy how they entered the economic ecosystem, and crucially, who helped them on their journey. We found that networks are critical to enabling prosperity in Indonesia, and by identifying the key connector archetypes this project provides insights into where NGOs, government and the private sector can make the biggest impact in an individual’s journey to economic inclusion and prosperity.”

Case Study

As Indonesia continues its innovative and large-scale economic inclusion initiatives, MasterCard has put names and faces on the roles people play in that journey. One of the journeys MasterCard examined was that of Imas, whose family situation required her to start work early in life.

Imas’s Journey:

  • At age 10 with the help of her aunt, Imas moved from her village to Jakarta. Her aunt played the role of the Migrator in Imas’s journey. She provided her with initial contacts to employment opportunities as a domestic worker.
  • Her employer noticed that Imas was very good with fixing and sewing clothes; she encouraged her to pursue training and provided initial funds to pay for the class. As a Mentor to Imas, her employer showed Imas an opportunity to increase her prosperity. She also introduced Imas to her first clients, friends of her employer.
  • As Imas learned the skills and built relationships with a local savings group, she was able to eventually open up her own sewing shop. One of the trusted client contacts suggested to Imas that life insurance could be a way to protect her accomplishments and the future of her family. The client took the role of an Introducer to show Imas how formal services can help secure her future.
  • Today, Imas is acting as a Mentor to her siblings and other family members. She has become a Connector for others.

MasterCard’s The Connectors Project research indicated Indonesians’ enthusiasm and optimism for the future of their country, most evident in the high ranking of Quality of Life. But the same individuals are also aware of the barriers that are keeping economic opportunity elusive for a large number of Indonesians.

Roughly three-quarters (74%) of Indonesians said that their quality of life was good or very good – more than in any other country surveyed. However, more than half (55%) of Indonesians surveyed as part of the study indicated that it is difficult for them to get access to credit and loans. In addition, 69% of respondents worry about money they owe to others.

Applying the learnings from The Connectors Project in Indonesia

  • Promote education and training programs that are linked to job opportunities. In short, education does not need to be formal and institutionalized. The key word is not “education” but “knowledge.” Participants of the study indicated a gap between receiving education and finding a suitable job afterward. The power of Connectors lies in their ability to introduce people to knowledge sources and skills that allow them to pursue job opportunities that are in fact available and suitable. Our quantitative research shows that respondents do not believe there is any dearth of formal education; however, 56 percent of Indonesians strongly agree that more focused education and job training would be beneficial to them.
  • Build trust with women who are financial managers and role models in the community: Women who are the heads of their households, managing children’s education along with the family resources, hold the reins as to how money is spent. The limited resources at their command are often in inverse proportion to their shrewdness in managing them. By designing products, programs and services fitted to the needs of women in Indonesia, financial services institutions can give them the tools to control their interaction with the institution — an important step in building trust and helping them in turn become effective Connectors.
  • Offer simplified banking products that include both saving and payment functions as an entry point to financial services: For communities and individuals in Indonesia sending money to family and their communities for support and in emergencies outweighs the need for storage and payment. By enabling the Migrators, financial services companies have the opportunity to reach a large network of people in remote areas.

Methodology: The report’s key findings were drawn from qualitative and quantitative research conducted by MasterCard Global Insights during fall 2014. In-depth personal interviews and more than 500 online surveys were collected in Indonesia. The qualitative study focused on two groups, street vendors and domestic workers, because of their tendency to remain outside the “official” economic ecosystem while still maintaining a sustainable income level. The quantitative work focused on a cross-section of income levels in the market.

About MasterCard

MasterCard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MasterCardAP and @MasterCardNews, join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.

Media Contacts

Georgette Tan, MasterCard, georgette_tan@mastercard.com, +65 6390 5971

Andrea Fang, Weber Shandwick, AFang@webershandwick.com, +65 6825 8030