In the past few years, young Indonesians have spearheaded innovative and creative enterprises that chip away at old confines. Moving forward, a confluence of factors, from technological advancement to social mindsets, will continue to impact the trails that these youths blaze.

Although popularly known as the “instant” generation, young people, or “millennials”, do not always conform to negative perceptions. Given the digital age that we now currently live in, these millennials are tech-savvy, dominating the online world through blogs, e-commerce, social media accounts and the apps they have invented.

We spoke to a number of our Generation T honourees, who also happen to be successful business owners, and they all agreed on one thing when it comes to managing millennials: we have to embrace their characteristics and passions, and let them grow and develop their talent and potential.

Elizabeth Rahajeng, Fashion Influencer and Blogger

“Women’s empowerment and gender equality are important issues—we have to get more girls and boys out there. To see their true potential, we have to boost their confidence. We have to work on education and make it more accessible. For me, no matter what other people say, you have to believe in yourself. You have to stand up for what you believe despite what others might say.”

Maria Rahajeng, Fashion Influencer and Blogger

“I think what is holding back the youth nowadays are cultural setbacks and a lack of support from family members. In the beginning, we have a lot of ideas, but we don’t get much support from our families. There are cultural barriers and the traditional mindsets of our elders. However, I think we need to support all forms of talent and potential.”

Olivia Lazuardy, Fashion Influencer and Blogger

“One of the biggest challenges is women’s equality. This is an issue as old as time, but I still believe it is true. Women in Indonesia still stumble across a lot of obstacles when trying to voice their opinions. They still have a lot of boxes to fill, and I believe that we are more than capable of filling out the world—not only boxes. We are creative, smart, and inspiring. Given the right opportunities, I am absolutely certain that we stand a chance.”

Anastasia Siantar, Fashion Influencer and Blogger

 “I think that Indonesian youths are very digitally minded and tech-savvy. We are definitely a very competitive generation. As an influencer, I’d say just be yourself and don’t copy someone else. You have to have your own identity.”

Reza Rahadian, Actor

“The biggest challenge is the lack of regard for our culture. Nowadays, we see lots of overseas influences, like K-Pop. I don’t necessarily see that as a negative thing, but I’m concerned about it. I think that we keep on asking ourselves what the world can give to our nation, rather than what we can do to make our own culture a trend. I also hope the young generation can pursue what they love, not just for themselves but for what they can do for others and for the environment. It’s really important to have a generation that cares about others which is and full of love.”

Adinda Kuntadi, Co-Founder of ALLIN Group

“As an entrepreneur, I feel like government regulations are one of the biggest problems I face in my line of business. Furthermore, there is a tough competition in the lifestyle industry, but I think that this challenges us to keep on improving our products and services. In a way, competition is good for us. I think Indonesia is getting there, and we can compete in the international market—which is also one of my goals.”

 Nicoline Patricia Malina, Photographer and Founder of Studio NPM

“Nowadays, there are a lot of influences and plenty of information available, both positive and negative, so it’s important to filter the information received by kids and young people. Moreover, we must respect and remember our traditions and our culture, because they can become easily forgotten among the younger generation. Personally, I think Indonesian photographers are among the best in Asia, but we need more support from the government if we want to compete in the international scene.”

 Kevin Mintaraga, Co-Founder and CEO of Bridestory

“Apart from problems, there are also a lot of potentials. I see that there is inefficiency, but millennials come up with innovations that are applicable to solve these inefficiencies. They have a fresh take when it comes to business—they are more open-minded and know what to improve. For me, the keyword to work with the millennials is to embrace. You have to be able to embrace their passions, interests, goals and dreams, and how as a company we can facilitate the right challenges for them to develop as individuals.”

 Natali Ardianto, Co-Founder and CTO of Tiket.com

“I believe that the future is all about digital—everything will be digitised, such as e-commerce, payments, online transportation and travel agents. We have to keep up with the way of thinking and understanding the needs of millennials. For them, the definition of existence is digital presence. So, the keyword is to bridge the generation gap, because there are tremendous talents in the digital world. This is my motto: don’t become an average person. They will try to drag you down and convince you to be like them when you want to be better.”

This story appears in the September 2017 issue of Indonesia Tatler. For the full story, grab the copy at your nearest newsstands, or subscribe here.

(Photographer: Winson Salim of AXIOO and Heri B Heryanto; Hair and make-up: Ipank Septian, Arie Irawan K, Yurika Hendarto and Sandra Wuri Amalia; Wardrobe: Tory Burch, Fendi and Diesel)

Tags: Kevin Mintaraga, Reza Rahadian, Olivia Lazuardy, Cover Story, Anastasia Siantar, Nicoline Patricia Malina, Generation T, Adinda Kuntadi, Gen T, Maria Rahajeng, Elizabeth Rahajeng, Natali Ardianto, September 2017