Kickstart - a new mentorship programme for promising Moluccan entrepreneurs

American entrepreneur and founder of Wyzerr, Natasia Malaihollo, goes back to her roots and launches Kickstart, an initiative to empower the Next Generation of Moluccan Entrepreneurs in the Moluccas. Born in the Moluccas herself and educated in the USA, Ms Malaihollo is an accomplished entrepreneur and came up with the scheme after a Q&A session with the audience at the end of her webinar presentation Secrets of a Successful Business Start-up last month. 

Inspired by these inquisitive people, she felt that she could share her experiences and expertise with aspiring Moluccan businesspeople. Ms Malaihollo said: “I realised Moluccan entrepreneurs are no different than me, and the same initiatives that work in the United States to push economic development in small cities could also work in Ambon. I started this fund and workshop series to hopefully spark a movement to invest in Moluccan start-ups that can eventually create new jobs and improve the livelihoods of families across Ambon.”

During her talk, which was part of a Bacarita dari Timur webinar series and organised by the Basudara Maluku Global Group and its spin-off Bahasa Basudara, Ms Malaihollo revealed that her path to success hadn’t always been easy. “My start-up company Wyzerr has been fortunate to receive multiple economic development grants and awards in the United States. In fact, it was an investment from the Ohio Third Frontier and matching tax credits from the State of Kentucky that propelled my company forward. As a result, I experienced first-hand how one entrepreneurship can grow a region, create high paying jobs, and bring awareness to a small city. Also having the right business mentors is essential to building a successful company,” said Ms Malaihollo. 

Wyzerr is a digital platform and app that gamifies surveys; a fun, fast, easy, and exciting way to get feedback from people. It is used by over 2200 companies (e.g. Walmart, Google, Facebook, and PayPal) in more than 53 countries, including Indonesia. Wyzerr was acquired by Popcom, a company that builds high-IQ automated retail technology, in June 2020.

Ms Malaihollo’s Berkat Ambon Entrepreneur Fund will give two monthly donations of USS$500 (split into two grants of US$250) to Moluccan businesspeople. She will also hold two workshops on 27th September and 17th October 2020. The workshops will focus on creating or re-designing businesses as this will be particularly important post COVID-19. 

Moluccan businesspeople and budding entrepreneurs, who live in the Moluccas and Indonesia, are invited to apply. There is a limited of 100 people per workshop and an independent panel will allocate the grants. Applications for the monthly grant will be through the website: Further details for the workshops will be released in due course.

Melati Muskitta from Basudara Maluku Global said: “We are excited to be partnering on this new initiative to develop entrepreneurship in Moluccans. This is a tremendous opportunity to learn skills, be exposed to successful people and have valuable mentoring in creating a business. Entrepreneurship and vocational training have always been at the heart of BMG programs. We are aware that the prosperity of the community  depends on it. Moluccans are highly creative people and with the right training they can solve many problems and create sustainable businesses at the same time. This initiative is a great first step in establishing a start-up ecosystem for Maluku.” 

Jeff Malaihollo founder of Bahasa Basudara agrees: “It is great to see a young successful entrepreneur like Natasia with a global reach, taking the time to share her knowledge and experience with the next generation in Maluku. This is an amazing opportunity for new and or upcoming entrepreneurs to get their business to the next level via her entrepreneur fund."

Bahasa Basudara is a free online educational programme educational which, with the help of (mostly) Moluccan tutors worldwide teaches English and German to Moluccan students in the Moluccas and the rest of Indonesia. It currently runs over 90 classes a week.

For more information visit: 
Berkat Ambon
Basudara Maluku Global
Bahasa Basudara