Client Name: Raude Raychel
Business Name: Indonesian Community Connect (ICC)
Business Website: https://www.indonesianconnect.org/
SBDC Advisor's Name: Warren Daniel
From her father’s heart to hers, helping people make connections and building community is something Raude Raychel (Raychel), President and Founder of Indonesian Community Connect (ICC) learned as a child and continues to drive her today.
Raychel grew up in Somersworth, NH with both her parents and her brother. Her father, the first Indonesian pastor in New Hampshire, would often open his doors, welcoming fellow Indonesians who had made their way to the Granite State. Those doors were opened not only at his church, but also his home, both serving as a welcoming hub to those who needed the resources and support to get settled here.
“From a three-bedroom apartment it becomes a seven-bedroom apartment,” laughs Raychel. “Every room we had we used to help them settle.” Her father would connect people to jobs and when they were hired, he would personally drive them to and from work. “Helping the community was his biggest passion,” says Raychel.
As the only English speaker in the family, Raychel soon became her father’s sidekick, assisting him in the important work he was doing. Her father passed away in July 2020 in Indonesia, but she recalls him always reminding her, “you can do something that is for the whole community,”. That is exactly what she is doing today with Indonesian Community Connect, which she founded in 2017.
The ICC, an NH SBDC client, turned partner and friend, is a non-profit organization based in New Hampshire. With a mission to establish access to information resources, facilitating mutual understanding among different cultures and values, and promoting the richness of Indonesian cultural diversity, they focus on connecting the Indonesian community with the surrounding area through educational and festive affairs that promote the richness of the Indonesian cultural heritage.
The ICC also serves as the hub of resources for their stakeholders which include the people in their immediate community, the local government and their valued collaborators in Indonesia, in order to facilitate mutual understanding among different cultures and values. In addition to New Hampshire, the ICC also serves as a point of contact for Massachusetts and Maine.
Initially, to get the ICC name out there, the focus was on promoting Indonesian culture through festivals and food bazaars, but as that recognition took flight, it was clear there was more the ICC was ready to offer the community. Raychel explains, “There are a lot of gaps with the community, with the government, the school system, everything. So, our passion, our heart was really how to solve that problem and become a bridge.”
As a single mom who went through her own difficult times, Raychel recognized that while her situation was a challenge, she was also in a good place; she knows English, she’s well connected in the community, and knows the resources available. But, she imagined all her other Indonesian community members who might be going through the same things, yet they lacked the knowledge, resources and connections she had. “It was like a dead end for them,” says Raychel.
Today, with the help of NH SBDC business advisor Warren Daniel, who helped Raychel focus on the business elements of her non-profit organization, Indonesian Community Connect is thriving. Warren helped set the foundation for the ICC. Raychel shares, “NH SBDC has assisted ICC in many ways. With regular meetings, SBDC provides advising services towards every ICC project by evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of products, services, and events.”
The SBDC also works to help identify and work through problems and opportunities. They provide resources to develop new ideas and relationships, connect potential stakeholders, and offer solutions towards action items.
In their early days, Raychel and her ICC team would meet at Panera Bread on Sunday nights and today, they have their own Cultural Center that houses the ICC’s headquarters, a gift shop and café. The ICC is also in Phase 1 of its biggest long-term vision, the world’s first Little Indonesia (think like a China Town), which will make its home in Somersworth. Little Indonesia’s goal is to build the economy, offer added value to Somersworth, and strengthen relations between the U.S and Indonesia.
Raychel will brag to her consulates and Indonesian stakeholders, “You have no idea what it’s like, if I don’t have SBDC.”
But, the SBDC / ICC relationship is far from a one-way street. Indonesian Community Connect has become a great friend to the seacoast business community offering a business partnership program where every package is customized to the business’s needs. Raychel says, “With each package tailored specifically to the needs of individual partners, this program has promoted economic growth and financial stability for community members and business partners alike.” In addition, the ICC partners with area businesses to provide a workforce to those businesses in need of a reliable labor pool.
That support has extended to the SBDC as well, connecting the many Indonesian aspiring business owners to the SBDC for guidance and resources. “It’s a win-win thing for both of us,” says Raychel.
Today, when asked what her father would think of all she’s built and continues to build with the ICC, Raychel says, “He would be so proud.”