One Day – Christian Fritz

Christian Fritz
The Bali Export Development Organization engages Balinese firms with their counterparts in Europe, and is headed by Christian Fritz, a 34-year-old Austrian who describes himself as a workaholic, bettering the businesses and lives of people here – as well as the environment. He shared his day with Bali Times’ contributor Bagus Ferriyanto

My day starts at seven in the morning, when I get up at my house in Kuta that I share with three Balinese dogs and a cat. I rent the house for Rp7.5 million a year (US$823). First off, it’s checking email and then feeding the animals. Mostly I don’t have breakfast in the mornings.

After a five-minute drive to work, I log on to my email again and start the rest of the day’s work – budget planning, updating accounts and setting up meetings with stakeholders. I also look after the social responsibilities of our office, Tropical Homes, where I work as the financial controller, like supporting the elderly in Sanur with financial contributions or food.

Our current strategy at The Bali Export Development Organization is assisting small businesses that want to expand their products, and their sales. So we train people, organize exhibitions, provide market information and promote products using websites and other tools. The organization is membership-based but is a non-profit. To join you just have to pay a fee of Rp1 million per year and for that you get listed, registered and helped in what you want to do. We also act like an intermediary between buyers and sellers, both of whom can register with us and can then meet up. Sometimes companies sponsor us, like (Indonesian cigarette firm) Sampoerna.

I’m involved in the Kuta Small Business Association, which was set up in 2003 after the first bombings. Our biggest event is the Kuta Karnival, which has now become an annual festival. Over the years the karnival has become a solid event and is open to not just participants that are based in Kuta, but ones in other areas as well.

I take a break for lunch around midday and have something to east at the office; the staff get their lunch at a warung (foodstall). I like nasi goreng (fried rice) or capcay (boiled vegetables in sauce). Afterwards there are meetings I have to attend to.

I’m responsible for the organization’s international dealings, and have to make contact with members here and outside of Indonesia. I’m a workaholic, but for me the things I do are not like a job but things that are of interest to me. There’s never enough time in the day to get all I want done, and sometimes I feel 24 hours is not enough for one day.
Along with the other things I do, I’m also a project advisor for the Bali International Consulting Group, a company focusing on sustainable development and social issues.

Because it’s a social enterprise, we can choose the project and it also supports non-profit organizations as part of social responsibility. We discuss a lot of issues.

Global warming is a big one, and it’s getting worse because people are not aware of what’s happening. Now it’s become difficult to stop it. The only way to try roll it back is to look for other energy sources and to urge people to take care of the environment. The economy can function in tune with a healthy society and economics should not just be about making profits; it should also be about maintaining the environment. Like a circle, we can run the economy along with creating a healthy environment around us.

Bali depends too much on tourism; it’s shifted from agriculture to tourism. We need better planning for Bali, and the government should be more selective in issuing licenses that only mainly benefit businessmen and investors.

Investing in Bali is like investing anywhere else. The regulations are fairly standard – and if you look at other places, like Holland or Germany, the regulations for investment there are not so simple. In Bali everything’s very clear, but it may seem complicated if it’s your first time. It’s not difficult to invest here; it’s not cheap, either. But there are always plusses and minuses.

I usually finish up work at 10pm or a bit later. I’ve been dating my girlfriend for seven years, and Mama Putu in Sanur, Kafe Tahu or Tekor Bali are my favorite places to have dinner with her.

Part of my goals is to keep Bali beautiful, and I like to hear people’s ideas as part of the challenge. I believe that as part of this society, you have to give and not only take all the time. The more you give, the more you learn and grow and get back.
Shortly before midnight I check my email one last time, and maybe watch a movie before turning in for the night.

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