Indonesia Leading The Way

Indonesia leading the way
Indonesia leading the way
Image by Achmad Al Fadhli on Unsplash.

I sat down with Terje H. Nilsen, Co-Owner of newly formed Seven Stones Indonesia, to get his take on Indonesia’s recent economic initiatives, the impact these are having on foreign investments in the country and whether or not this is a good time to be buying property. Make a coffee and get comfortable. This is what he had to say:

AB: According to a recent article in The Jakarta Globe, World Bank officials have gone on record as saying the Indonesian government’s recent economic policy packages have helped to maintain investor confidence despite global volatility. Does this surprise you?

TN: Not at all! It’s something we’ve been supportive of for a long time now, especially on social media. Can you believe I’ve actually been accused of working for Jokowi’s PR Department because of that support? (Ed. For the record Terje is very active on social media but doesn’t work for Jokowi’s PR department.) People need to realize that what Jokowi’s government is doing is real. It’s happening. Everyone who’s serious about doing business in Indonesia should help to get the message out there so more and more people get to hear about it and importantly trust it.

AB: Do you think there are some business owners who don’t do that?

TN: Absolutely! You’d be surprised at how many foreigners who live and work in Indonesia, especially in Bali, just love to see the negative side and in doing so they completely ignore the positive aspects. Having said that there are also local business owners who seem reluctant to promote their own country. This could be because there are still those who want control for personal gain rather than seeing the bigger picture and the need to adapt and embrace change. We need to understand that the world is transforming rapidly and so is the way we do business. We’re in a paradigm shift and if we don’t learn to read the signs and sail different courses, we will fail.

AB: Are you saying that all businesses need to change Terje?

TN: Some need to change more than others, but as a general observation, yes everyone needs to get on board with the idea of change. We’re lucky to have a president with the vision of Jokowi. He’s leading the way, not just here in Indonesia but on a global scale. This is what the World Bank and others are saying … and we all know the best leaders lead by example.

AB: Let’s just go back to the Jakarta Globe’s report for a minute … the World Bank’s country director for Indonesia, Rodrigo Chaves is suggesting that countries need to diversify their economies and going into the service sector, can and will in the end produce better-skilled labor and higher-paying jobs. What are your thoughts on that?

TN: That’s a great question. For us the customer experience is key. We’re developing a customer-centric culture in our Seven Stones offices, which is having very positive results. We know this is something of a global movement in business and those who adopt and adapt will lead the way. I see no reason why this can’t be translated into a national and even international scale. We saw evidence of this last year when Jokowi led a trade mission to the United States and spent some quality time with the movers and shakers of Silicon Valley. What he was doing was trying to get inside the heads of those who want to do business in Indonesia but have, for so many years, been restricted by negative investment lists and literally thousands of regulations which have made doing business here extremely difficult. Jokowi is actively dismantling that perception and those regulations. We see this as part of creating a more positive customer experience. A massive part of this is human resources, training and mind sets.

AB: How important do you think training and education are if Indonesia wants to be recognized as a world leader?

TN: They’re critical. Education is the fuel that will drive the machine. Indonesia has enormous potential and needs to see education and training as supporting these more public initiatives. Vocational training academies, polytechnics and higher education institutes are the most obvious ways to move forward. But so are enterprises like Bali’s Green School, which teaches youngsters values that will define the way the country is perceived and the way it can lead.

AB: Can you expand on that a little?

TN: Environmental awareness is the most obvious of these. Imagine what it would be like if Indonesia had a string of Green Schools across the country which taught the next generation how to love and nurture the planet. It would develop, for example, a culture of Eco-tourism, alternative energy and no plastic bags as well as the concept of creating more and better service industries.

The bottom line is that people pay for this kind of quality service and this attitude of awareness. It says something very important about the country and its people. In the end this would mean higher salaries as well as more vibrant economies across the archipelago.

AB: The World Bank also suggests that the government’s policy packages have helped to maintain investor confidence in the country. How do you see this in terms of property and real estate?

TN: This is a great time to buy property in Indonesia. There are opportunities in nearly every market sector. Indonesia is going through somewhat of a housing boom and the middle class is driving this. Everyone understands that property is the most secure form of investment. Interestingly, the market has become more sophisticated, especially with the penetration of the internet and social media. According to the national internet service provider association (Asosiasi Penyelenggara Jasa Internet Indonesia (APJII)) Indonesia’s Internet user base has reached about 35% of the country’s total population. Think about that for a minute … that’s about 88 million people … and counting!

This means that buyers have access to more choices both in terms of real estate and real estate agents. If I’m a buyer and I don’t get a quick and personal response from an agent, for example, I can simply look for another one. It’s just a click away!

We see people connecting with us at Seven Stones, for example, because they like our blogs and what we post. They connect with us as people who share similar values and who are prepared to listen. They know that if we don’t have what they’re looking for in our listings we can be trusted to find them a great solution.

If you’d like to get to know more about Terje and Seven Stones Indonesia go to Linkedin and Facebook.



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Andrzej Barski

Director of Seven Stones Indonesia

Andrzej is Co-owner/ Founder and Director of Seven Stones Indonesia. He was born in the UK to Polish parents and has been living in Indonesia for more than 33-years. He is a skilled writer, trainer and marketer with a deep understanding of Indonesia and its many cultures after spending many years travelling across the archipelago from North Sumatra to Irian Jaya.

His experience covers Marketing, Branding, Advertising, Publishing, Real Estate and Training for 5-Star Hotels and Resorts in Bali and Jakarta, which has given him a passion for the customer experience. He’s a published author and a regular contributor to local and regional publications. His interests include conservation, eco-conscious initiatives, spirituality and motorcycles. Andrzej speaks English and Indonesian.

Terje H. Nilsen

Director of Seven Stones Indonesia

Terje is from Norway and has been living in Indonesia for over 20-years. He first came to Indonesia as a child and after earning his degree in Business Administration from the University of Agder in Norway, he moved to Indonesia in 1993, where he has worked in leading positions in education and the fitness/ wellness industries all over Indonesia including Jakarta, Banjarmasin, Medan and Bali.

He was Co-owner and CEO of the Paradise Property Group for 10-years and led the company to great success. He is now Co-owner/ Founder and Director of Seven Stones Indonesia offering market entry services for foreign investors, legal advice, sourcing of investments and in particular real estate investments. He has a soft spot for eco-friendly and socially sustainable projects and investments, while his personal business strengths are in property law, tourism trends, macroeconomics, Indonesian government and regulations. His personal interests are in sport, adventure, history and spiritual experiences.

Terje’s leadership, drive and knowledge are recognised across many industries and his unrivalled network of high level contacts in government and business spans the globe. He believes you do good and do well but always in that order. Terje speaks English, Indonesian and Norwegian.

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Ridwan Jasin Zachrie

CFO of Seven Stones Indonesia, Jakarta

Ridwan is one of Indonesia’s top executives with a long and illustrious career in the financial world. He holds several professional certifications including being a Certified Business Valuer (CBV) issued by the Australian Academy of Finance and Management; Broker-Dealer Representative (WPPE); and The Directorship Certification for Directors and Commissioners, issued by the Indonesian Institute of Commissioners and Directors.

His experience includes being the Managing Director at one of the top investment banking groups in the region, the Recapital Group, the CFO at State-owned enterprises in fishery industry and the CEO at Tanri Abeng & Son Holding. He’s also been an Independent Commissioner in several Financial Service companies and on the Audit and Risk Committee at Bank BTPN Tbk, Berau Coal Energy Tbk, Aetra Air Jakarta as well as working for Citibank, Bank Mandiri and HSBC. His last position was as CFO at PT Citra Putra Mandiri – OSO Group.

Ridwan has won a number of prestigious awards including the Best CFO Awards 2019 (Institute of Certified Management Accountant Australia-Indonesia); Asia Pacific Young Business Leader awarded by Asia 21 Network New York USA (Tokyo 2008); UK Alumni Business Awards 2008 awarded by the British Council; and The Most Inspiring Human Resources Practitioners’ version of Human Capital Magazine 2010.

He’s a member of the Board of Trustees of the Alumni Association of the Faculty of Law, Trisakti University, Co-Founder of the Paramadina Public Policy Institute and actively writes books, publications and articles in the mass media. He co-authored “Korupsi Mengorupsi Indonesia” in 2009, which helps those with an interest in understanding governance in Indonesia and the critical issue of corruption. Ridwan speaks Indonesian and English.

Per Fredrik Ecker

Managing Director of Seven Stones Indonesia, Jakarta

Per is the Managing Director of the Seven Stones Indonesia (SSI) Jakarta office and has more than 25-years’ experience in Indonesia, China, and Western Europe. He previously worked in senior management positions with Q-Free ASA, Siemens AG, and other companies in the telecom sector. Over the last six years, he has been the Chairman of the Indonesia-Norway Business Council (INBC) and recently become elected to be on the board of EuroCham Indonesia.

His most recent experience is within Intelligent Transport Solutions (ITS), Telecom, and other sectors within the Indonesian market. He is today through his position in SSI and by representing Norway Connect, promoting Nordic and European companies that would like to explore business opportunities in the Indonesian market. He’s also playing an active role to help create the Nordic House concept in Jakarta that will provide an excellent platform for Nordic companies entering Indonesia, where they’ll find a community that can offer support with trusted information and affordable services to enter this market.