Last week, APP Sinar Mas presented Lenirawati’s “Pirlisae'' handicrafts as the first among the best five MSME’s at the Business Incubation Program. Today, we would like to introduce the second winner in the series, Mariana’s “Liberina'' dodol kopi, a coffee-flavoured toffee snack. In the upcoming weeks, APP will highlight women who have effectively expanded their businesses by adopting fresh strategies learned during the incubation program.
Mariana, a resilient entrepreneur from the village of Pematang Lumut in Jambi, is the founder of Liberina—a small business crafting delectable snacks and cakes. Her story is one of determination, innovation, and a passionate pursuit of turning dreams into reality.
“I started this dodol business in 2016 but it was on and off, especially because I was still making the dodol manually. In 2019, I received a mixer from PT Wirakarya Sakti (WKS) and since then I started making dodol consistently,” Mariana said.
Drawing inspiration from her mother's recipe for dodol, a traditional sugar palm toffee, Mariana embarked on a culinary journey to infuse the rich flavors of her region into her creations. Nestled amid pineapple, palm, and coffee plantations, Mariana set her sights on incorporating these elements into her treats, with a special emphasis on the uniqueness of coffee. Armed with ambition, she joined the business incubation program to showcase her products.
Mariana's journey wasn't without challenges, however she remained motivated as she continued to be mentored.
“When I first showed my product to the mentors at the incubation program, they had a lot of notes. I had to reduce the sweetness, improve the texture…and this was just the first session,” she said.
She diligently reworked her recipe, presenting better iterations during subsequent sessions.
Her perseverance was further put to the test when her mentor's critique left her disheartened.
“One mentor said that my dodol was awful…that was disheartening, especially since I put so much effort into making it. Another mentor threw away his portion of the snack. I teared up a bit,” Mariana recalled with a laugh.
The brutal honesty stung, but she chose to turn that setback into fuel for improvement. Tirelessly working late into the night, experimenting with recipes and embracing guidance, she transformed her dodol – coming up with a final product that received praise from everyone who tried it and earning her the title of "Best Progress" as the incubation program wrapped up.
In June, Mariana's creation made its debut in gift shops and university bazaars. The addition of Liberica coffee in traditional dodol earned her a dedicated following.
Her education, however, extended beyond the culinary realm. At the business incubation program, Maria said it was the first time she realised the value of her work. She learned to factor in all costs—raw materials, electricity, and labor—which led to a better grasp of her business's financial health. Armed with her newfound knowledge and a revitalized product, Mariana aimed for wider horizons, eyeing the province-wide market for her coffee dodol.
She worries about the uncertain economy of the region, which often affects the sale of consumable goods, including her dodol. But Mariana plans to broaden her reach, embracing the online world to market her culinary creations on platforms like TikTok and Instagram.
Mariana's credits the incubation program for “awakening” her entrepreneur spirit and pushing her to come up with a product she can be proud of.
Batch 2 of the Business Incubation program, a continuation of APP’s collaboration with Yayasan Doktor Sjahrir (YDS) – Womenpreneur Community (WPC), hence aims to cultivate self-reliant entrepreneurs like Mariana capable of catalyzing positive transformations within their families and communities. Through creating a nurturing environment and equipping participants with essential expertise, the program strives to generate employment prospects within local regions and elevate MSME contributors into advocates for household earnings. These empowered individuals are poised to inspire other women to embark on their entrepreneurial journeys.