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10 Examples That Prove Indonesians are the Best Business Opportunists Ever


10 Examples That Prove Indonesians are the Best Business Opportunists Ever

Indonesia is a country of survivors. With a population of over 270 million there are simply not enough jobs to go around for everyone. Luckily, it seems to be in the blood of the Indonesian to spot a business opportunity and cease it. 

As if the whole population watched ‘8 Mile’ and took Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself’ lyrics too seriously, Indonesian’s have learned to take instant take advantage of entrepreneurial situations – whether or not there was even one to begin with! So here we present 10 examples that prove Indonesian’s are the most opportunist entrepreneurs and business people in the world!


(1a) Empty Sidewalk?


(1b) You mean food court!

Empty space is wasted in Indonesia – best to throw a grobak on there and make it into a commercial space for some nasi gila and ikan lele goreng…

Source: “Kakilima street vendors in Jakarta.jpg” by Gunawan Kartapranata is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

(2a) Bad weather?

(2b) You mean good business opportunity!

That’s right, without fail when the rain comes down in Indonesia kids will magically appear out of thin air with umbrellas offering to walk you to your car or to the bus stop for Rp.2000-Rp.5000. The ‘ojek payung’ as they are called.

(3a) 3 in 1 traffic regulations

(3b) Jockeys

We can try to apply rules to fix our traffic problems like with the 3-in-1 car policy, but the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of Indonesia will find a way to fight it! Hence the birth of the ‘jockey’ passenger.

(4a) Genap-Ganjil (Odd and Even) License Plates

(4b) New product for the bengkel!

Even with the introduction of alternating odd and even license plates to reduce the flow of traffic, people will find a way to make money… like this license plate changing machine that a bengkel obviously fashioned for the situation!

(5a) Traffic junction

Simpang Tiga Jakarta Indonesia

source: Google Maps

(5b) New Traffic Director

No junction is complete without a random person deciding they are now the qualified director of traffic. Not every car will pay for his professional services, but rest assured by the end of the day he will end up with more than he had!

Tukang Parkir


(6a) Brand new pedestrian bridge

Fly Over Indonesia Jalan


(6b) Bridge? You mean shopping mall

Any empty area is potential retail space my friends. Very quickly when one of these bridges pops up you’ll find people selling jajan pasar, sandal jepit, phone accessories and much, much more. Who doesn’t love a bit of shopping therapy on their way to work?

Belanja di fly over jembatan


(7a) One man’s trash…

Indonesian Rubbish Trash Waste Management


(7b) … is another man’s treasure!

Yes, as sad as it might be, the Indonesian pemulung or ‘scavengers’ are definitely entrepreneurial survivors. What we throw out with little thought, the pemulung see value, being able to survive from the collected plastic and paper they find. In fact, they are Indonesia’s secret eco-warrior. 

Pemulung indonesian scavenger


(8a) Don’t have a spot in the pasar?

(8b) All good – pasar on the go!

Indonesian’s ability to put anything on the motorbike is seriously impressive. From groceries to tailors and even bakso sellers – not having a ruko, shop or spot in the market is no problem!

Pasar di atas motor


pasar motor bakso jual tukang


(9a) High tension terrorism situation

Sarinah Terrorism Jakarta

Sarinah Terrorist Situation, Jakarta. source:

(9b) Big crowds = good for business!

Many of us remember the situation in Jakarta, when a terror situation arose in Sarinah. What hit social media sites more than anything was the fact that sellers and tukang continued to go about their business as usual and actually benefit from the big crowds surrounding the area. This prompted the hashtag #KamiTidakTakut . These sellers included:

Pak Jamal the Sate Guy

Snack Man

Jual Kacang Sarinah terroist jakarta


Army Supplies

Tukang Jualan Sarinah Lucu


Kacang Rebus a la Sarinah

Jual Kacang Sarinah terroist jakarta 2


(10a) Heavy traffic jams…

Macet Jakarta Indonesia Traffic

(10b) Perfect spot to sell!

If you’re stuck at the traffic light that means you have nowhere to run! You can imagine that for street vendors this becomes the perfect opportunity to sell something to you. And let’s be honest you can find almost anything at the lampu merah:

Newspapers, magazines and books…

Motorbike masks

Yep, not even the motorbike riders stuck in traffic can escape capitalism!

and, these things, whatever they are…

There you have it, proof! Indonesians can make any situation into a business opportunity. Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments.

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