Ep 3: Retirement Living | Benjamin Cass

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Benjamin Cass – President Director of Seniors Living Well Communities

Today we have Benjamin Cass on the show who is the President Director of Associations Senior Living in Indonesia. Join us as we discuss what is like to experience Indonesia, starting business in Indonesia and other information on building your business in the country.

Benjamin’s 15 years in the property and health sectors in South-East Asia have spanned the private and public sector including as an advisor to the Victorian government’s Dept. Premier & Cabinet and as an Associate Director of one of Asia-Pacific’s largest architectural and design practices. He is considered a pioneer of Indonesia’s aged care sector and a co-founder of the Asosiasi Seniors Living Indonesia. Benjamin has led a team of developers and operators and has project managed numerous residential and mixed use projects with a strong focus on seniors living in Asia. Benjamin is Chair of the Retirement and Senior Living South East Asia annual conference and is a frequent speaker throughout the region on the topic of Seniors Living. Benjamin served on the Australia-Indonesia Business Council’s Victorian Committee and studied a Bachelor of Public Policy & Management at the University of Melbourne, a Diploma in Construction & Building (Management) and a Bachelor of Dementia Care at the University of Tasmania.

Let us explore Indonesia and its secrets in this podcast.


Expat living and new experiences

5:50 The market in Bali realized they can no longer rely on tourists, due to the current situation.

7:46 Culture and Language barrier is the most important aspect if you are thinking to build business in the domestic market in Indonesia.

9:33 The sound of local mosque are sounds that you hear often in Bali and parts of Indonesia. Sights of collection of luxury cars and Bali is not quite pedestrian friendly.

12:07 Commitment in time is important if you are looking into investing business in Indonesia, amount of time required in handling business in the country is important.

15:33 Having interaction with staff is incredible, it is particular a hard job but we are lucky to have the staff.

Living in Indonesia apart from living in Australia

18:35 Everyday is an adventure in Indonesia and there is a huge difference in culture from Australia.

19:39 Raising a family in Indonesia is a different set from Australia, the staff that works for your family becomes part of your family.

21:00 Education in Indonesia offers a lot of option from embassy tied to public schools, the difference is that Indonesia does not emphasize physical education.

23:00 The neighborhood in Indonesia knows each other well, everyone helps one another and is far different from what Australia is used to.

Integrating in the society

24:47 Language is important, even though they can speak English really well, we still have language barrier, there is still something that is different with their birth language.

25:46 There are social standing in wealth and family. It is a small business community.

30:17 If you pay once you pass the moral judgement, you’ll be known that you pay in the future.

It is easy for Australians to pass moral judgement in Indonesia.

Starting a business in Indonesia

32:50 The need for partnership is important in starting business in Australia, partnerships is a go to any business.

33:51 The market is a small one, the large population has a different meaning on business, different markets depend on social status who can afford your product.

37:06 It is difficult to build business in Indonesia but the it is the people that makes it easier. With all the differences, despite of it the people make building the business easier.

Finding the right business partner

45:02 As long, you are clear on what your demographics are you will narrow down your list on your business partners.  

47:37 You are chasing small list of people, because of the size of the place they are publicly listed.

Business of structure on taxes and such

51:42 A non-Indonesian has to set up PTPMA, and the crucial part is the delivery itself.

Building in Indonesia

58:28 Only can few players do it and only few can do it, there is a temptation to control all aspect of the building work, which does not work all the time. You need to find a partner you can trust.

1:07:59 Relying on someone’s CV is risky. You have to look into the universities in Indonesia to be on the safe side.

1:09:08 It comes time to spend the time to know the candidate, you cannot rely on the CV itself. The ability to greet someone is important in the business.

1:12:00 The more important part on the business is smile in touch which is not quite difficult to find in Indonesia, it all makes a difference.

Other design considerations

1:13:60 Turning down the dial on effects, with the nature of the business with less reliance on signage instead putting in flowers really helps dial down the effects. You associate everything with senses. Natural light is associated with dementia, we have tweaked the design of the building to cater the people we are serving.

Getting the right clients and using the tools

1:16:50 The seniors came from the existing property developer. Which is very unusual comparing to Australia.

1:17:00 You don’t have the facility yet to educate for age care. There is a need for medical background you have to work in what education system in Indonesia requires.

1:19:20 Indonesia will create name on the world. Being the world’s largest secret and economic growth is continuing in Indonesia.


Key notes

36:20 “If you speak openly to them, they will speak openly to you”

59:09 “There is some level of transparency where you can see employers previous work and it comes down to trust”

Thank you for listening to this episode, listen to more Indonesia’s secret and beauty in the next episodes. For show notes you can visit www.indonesiahospitality.com. Share this podcast to support us.

Working alone we are incrementally better, together we are exponentially better.







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