UQ researchers awarded grant to help lead small to medium business recovery in Indonesia

3 November 2020

Researchers from The University of Queensland (UQ) Business School will be assisting COVID-19 recovery in Indonesia through a digital transformation grant designed to help small to medium enterprises (SMEs).

Dr Heather Stewart and a team of researchers from the UQ Business School and Universitas Indonesia have been awarded a $20,000 grant under the Small, Rapid Research (SRR) scheme.

Dr Stewart said the scheme provides a mechanism to address pressing challenges brought about by the impact of COVID-19 in Indonesia.

“I am delighted to receive news of the grant, as the project will investigate the impact of COVID-19 on Indonesia’s small to medium enterprise (SME) businesses, and how digital transformation can support recovery and societal equality.

“The research will also inform Indonesia’s SME, entrepreneurship and finance policy.”

Data indicates Indonesian SMEs account for nearly 97 per cent of domestic employment and for 56 per cent of total business investment, which have been hit hard by COVID-19 restrictions and lockdown.

Dr Heather Stewart

“SMEs are important for social inclusion as well as economic growth, particularly given the large percentage of 'informal' SME employment,” said Dr Stewart.

“We will analyse digital changes, transformation opportunities, plans and barriers, to inform recovery and sustainability strategy, as the pandemic’s supply and demand shocks have exacerbated social inequalities globally.”

“The study will identify ways that digital business transformation can be accessed and leveraged equitably, to ensure that enterprises can contribute to their communities.”

The outcomes of the SRR project will provide the policy-makers with timely access to the best available evidence and inform the Australia- Indonesia Centre’s interactions and collaboration with COVID-19 policy.

The project is co-led by Dr Beta Yulianita Gitaharie and her team at DeDekan Fakultas Ekonomi dan Bisnis Universitas Indonesia.

“The issue of digital business transformation is very timely with the current new normal in which all businesses, big and small, must adapt to survive in the new situation,” Dr Gitaharie said.

“The collaboration involves close cooperation with the relevant Indonesian policymakers and presents a significant potential impact on policymaking.”

Dr Stewart’s team includes UQ Business School experts Associate Professor Sarah Jane Kelly, Dr Liz Ferrier, Dr Andre Pekerti and Dr Belinda Wade; spanning expertise in marketing, advertising, culture and sustainability development.

Dr Liz Ferrier, Associate Professor Sarah Jane Kelly, Dr Heather Stewart and Dr Belinda Wade

For further information about the study, contact Dr Heather Stewart heather.stewart@uq.edu.au, 0418 830 938.


This research was funded by the Australian Government through the Australia-Indonesia Centre under the PAIR Program.

The Partnership for Australia-Indonesia Research (PAIR), an initiative of The Australia-Indonesia Centre, is supported by the Australian Government and run in partnership with the Indonesian Ministry of Research and Technology, the Indonesian Ministry of Transport, the South Sulawesi Provincial Government and many organisations and individuals from communities and industry.