Sanitation entrepreneurship in rural Indonesia: a closer look

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Journal Article
Environment, Development and Sustainability, 2018, 20 (1), pp. 343 - 359
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© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. Enterprises are playing increasing roles in facilitating access to sanitation products and services in Indonesia and other developing economies. This study investigated the factors affecting the sustainability of sanitation enterprises in rural Indonesia. Interviews with 33 organisations representing sanitation enterprises, associations of sanitation enterprises, national and international civil society organisations (CSOs), donor organisations and national and local government agencies were conducted to explore different stakeholder perceptions about enterprise roles. The research revealed factors specific to the sanitation entrepreneurs themselves, such as their skills, entrepreneurial traits, pro-social motivations and intrinsic motivations, as well as factors within their enabling environment. Insufficient customer demand, inadequate capacity building opportunities, lack of financing options for entrepreneurs and their customers, and limited government support were observed to undermine sanitation enterprise success. Industry associations were found to be a useful intermediary support mechanism, particularly in the absence of significant government support for enterprises. However, such associations could also stifle innovation, and their role needs to be carefully developed, including financially sustainable models for such associations. This study has implications for how governments and CSOs in Indonesia and elsewhere might best support the role of enterprises and entrepreneurship towards improved sanitation outcomes.
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