Innovation for MSME Development Initiative

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Photo credit: J-PAL
The Innovation for MSME Development Initiative (IMDI) aims to support evidence-based policymaking in the MSME sector. IMDI achieves this through generating policy-relevant research and sharing knowledge that can help government, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector identify effective approaches to improve MSMEs’ financial access, capacity, and market access.

Micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) hold large potential in driving Indonesia's economic growth due to their large numbers, ability to absorb the workforce, and opportunities for employment for women. Recognizing the contribution of MSMEs, the Government of Indonesia outlined several targets for MSME growth, such as increasing the production of value-added goods, and MSMEs' export contribution. Aligned with these targets, the government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the private sector, and development organizations have implemented programs targeted to MSMEs, such as digital onboarding and training, consulting services, and logistic aggregator services. 

However, despite the large number of programs, there is still limited evidence on how recent innovations, such as the digital onboarding of MSMEs, machine learning, digital loans, and logistics services geared toward MSMEs, influence their business outcomes. To address this gap, J-PAL Southeast Asia (SEA), with the generous support of the Millennium Corporation Challenge, and guidance from the Ministry of National Development Planning (Bappenas), established IMDI, to support policymakers and stakeholders working to solve the challenges MSMEs face through:

  1. Developing new rigorous research: IMDI aims to expand the base of rigorous evidence on strategies to grow MSMEs. The team seeks to answer high-priority questions that can inform policy and program recommendations to policymakers and program implementers. 
  2. Synthesizing available evidence and producing policy insights: The IMDI team actively monitors new and existing MSME programs and maps them to our pool of evidence. The goal is to generate timely insights for policymakers, researchers, and practitioners, and to identify priority areas for future research. 
  3. Strengthening the network of MSME stakeholders: The goal of the IMDI team is to also inspire collaborations between policymakers, program implementers, and researchers in the MSME sector to share knowledge and design future evidence-based policies. The team achieves this by hosting a learning collaborative, a policy discussion where key stakeholders in the MSME sector gather to explore challenges and innovative solutions for MSME growth in Indonesia. 

Key Facts



For Researchers

Request for Proposals

The IMDI team seeks to answer high-priority questions that can inform policy and generate meaningful program recommendations for key stakeholders in the MSME sector. IMDI welcomes J-PAL affiliated professors, J-PAL postdocs, invited researchers, and PhD students advised by a J-PAL affiliate who are interested in exploring potential research avenues in the MSME sector to reach out to the team. 

For more details on the RFP, please click the “Learn more” button below.

For Partners

Call for Partner Collaboration

The IMDI team is interested to learn from program implementers (NGOs, private sector, government, etc.) to understand the key questions they have about their program, and help them use rigorous evaluation to generate evidence on their priority research questions. Through our collaboration, the IMDI team can: 1) share knowledge and policy lessons from existing research; 2) establish connections between program implementers and J-PAL’s network of experienced academic researchers to design and implement a randomized evaluation; and 3) provide technical assistance on the study design and feasibility, and find funding for the randomized evaluation. 

Our engagement with program implementers is ongoing throughout the year. We are open to learning more about your program and brainstorming innovative research ideas together. 

For more details on the call for partner collaboration, please click the “Learn more” button below.

White Paper

The IMDI white paper aims to share evidence on MSME programs and explore promising research opportunities to support MSME growth in Indonesia.

Read the full white paper in English here.

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