Resilience in Jakarta: SAS Analytics optimizes COVID relief for small businesses

SAS Hackathon team uses SAS Viya on Microsoft Azure to build AI and optimization models

In Indonesia, small businesses are a big deal. More than 64 million micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) – that’s one for every five Indonesians – employ a whopping 97% of the country’s workforce. And in Jakarta, the bustling capital city of 11 million people, these MSMEs are the engine that drives the economy.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, lockdowns and activity restrictions shut down much of the normal commerce and threatened the livelihood of millions of people.

The local government of the Special Capital Region of Jakarta took steps to lessen the blow, including capital infusions to keep businesses afloat through the worst of the pandemic and its infection spikes. This COVID relief was a lifeline for MSME owners and their employees across the region.

A new challenge arose: How to ensure that trillions of Indonesian rupiahs were spent wisely, supporting both businesses serving vulnerable areas and those with the highest potential to rebound in a post-COVID world and help resurrect the local and national economy.

SAS Hackathon as innovation incubator

A team of Indonesian data scientists looked to address this challenge. They used data and advanced analytics like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to help local government officials in Jakarta optimize the distribution of COVID relief.

Team JAKSTAT was part of the 2022 SAS® Hackathon, a month-long event sponsored by SAS, the leader in analytics, and its preferred cloud partner Microsoft. Hackathon teams from around the world collaborated with experts and SAS mentors to address big challenges in business and government and used the Hackathon as an incubator for innovation.

According to team lead Muhammad Iqbal, a data analyst at Starcore Analytics, a SAS partner that helps Jakarta Provincial Government run this project, “Jakarta is such a diverse and dynamic region and city, and the millions of micro, small and medium enterprises are its beating heart. Our project seeks to ensure that the capital infusion keeps that heart beating strong and helps MSMEs and all Indonesians be more resilient as we emerge from the pandemic.”

JAKSTAT applied AI and advanced analytics using SAS® Viya®, the cloud-native data management, AI and decisioning platform by SAS. SAS Viya integrates seamlessly with open-source technologies like Python, which the team also used. 

The combination of AI in the cloud gives Hackathon teams – and businesses, government agencies and universities worldwide – the power to quickly transform data into better, faster and reliable decisions.

A sampling of the many types of MSMEs in Jakarta include snack and food stands and restaurants; produce shops and grocery stores; clothes and fashion retail; bookstores and newsstands; vehicle and motorbike maintenance and many more.

According to the United Nations Development Program, only 17% of MSMEs surveyed in Jakarta received or sought assistance during the pandemic. Team JAKSTAT, by using powerful analytics and AI in the cloud, is looking to help local officials boost that number and economic activity across the region by optimizing the distribution of COVID-relief.

What is the SAS Hackathon?

During the SAS Hackathon, teams of participants collaborate and compete to develop the best solutions to a business or humanitarian challenge using SAS technology. Unlike many hackathons where participants meet in person for a couple days, the SAS Hackathon was all-digital and spanned one month. Teams had access to a learning portal and a SAS mentor. Hackathon teams can create potentially viable applications and products for the marketplace that SAS will assist in developing and commercializing in collaboration with the team.

To learn more, visit SAS Hackathon and follow #SAShackathon on Twitter. 

Today's announcement was made at the virtual SAS Media & Influencer Briefing. To keep up with the latest news from SAS, follow @SASsoftwareNews on Twitter.

About SAS

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SAS Hackathon team JAKSTAT works to make covid relief more accessible for micro, small and medium businesses in Jakarta, Indonesia.