In Indonesia, the word –Koperasi reminds people of the Village Unit Cooperative (KUD), a business entity established by farmers or fishermen in the countryside or the Koperasi in schools that sell stationery needs for students. In addition, in various government and private agencies, Koperasi can be found. Generally, the Koperasi is more like a saving and loan business.
By definition, Koperasi comes from the word "cooperative" which means to cooperate. According to the 1992 Law, Cooperatives are business entities whose members are individuals or legal entities with activities based on the principle of cooperation as well as the people's economic movement, with the principle of kinship. So, even though it is a business entity, the purpose of cooperatives in general is not solely for profit but also improvement of the members’ welfare.
The development of cooperatives in Indonesia began in 1947 when the first Cooperative Congress was held in Tasikmalaya, West Java, from July 11-14, 1947 during the War of Independence. It was attended by around 500 delegates from more than 2,000 cooperatives throughout Indonesia. In the congress, July 12 was designated as Indonesian Cooperative Day.
After 73 years officially established in Indonesia, the development of cooperatives seems to be slow. In an online discussion commemorating the Cooperative Day on July 12, 2020, Minister of Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises, Teten Masduki said that currently, cooperatives in Indonesia have not yet penetrated the creative industries and tend to run their businesses in conventional ways. In fact, the potential of the creative industry is very large and close to young people.
Indeed, it seems that cooperatives are less popular among young people. They consider cooperatives old-fashioned and outdated. Lack of knowledge about cooperatives also hinders young people's interest in joining cooperatives to develop.
The cooperative sector faces a major challenge to optimize the potential of millennial generation in Indonesia. Moreover, Indonesia will enter the demographic bonus period in 2020-2035 which reaches its peak in 2030. In this period, the composition of Indonesia's population will be dominated by productive age groups.
It is time for Indonesian Cooperatives to involve the millennial generation during the demographic bonus period. Unless, the cooperative sector will be increasingly abandoned by the younger generation. That is a threat because it could be, the cooperative sector is experiencing extinction in Indonesia due to the absence of regeneration.
Happy National Cooperative Day!