Paving the Road to Success: Sukanto Tanoto’s APRIL Fuels Local Entrepreneurs

Mention the word entrepreneurs, and Western luminaries such as Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates readily spring to mind. Much less emphasis or attention, surprisingly, has been placed on their no-less-impressive Asian counterparts. Asian giants such as Mochtar Riady, Li Ka Shing, or Sukanto Tanoto have often been overlooked, in part due to their proclivity for privacy.

Building a legacy for a lifetime

The latter, Sukanto Tanoto is quite simply a one man force of nature. Starting his first business as a seventeen year-old school-dropout (though not by choice), his zest and verve were clear to see. Combined with a sharp and entrepreneurial mind, there was only one way he would go – up. Today Sukanto Tanoto is chairman of global resource giant RGE, which manages several other companies such as APRIL, Sateri, and Pacific Oil and Gas. It has only been through that entrepreneurial and fighting spirit of his, that Sukanto Tanoto has the success he may rightly claim today; his companies boast a workforce of 60,000 and assets worth over 18 billion dollars. While the 68 year-old is clearly an example of entrepreneurship gone right, Sukanto Tanoto is determined to ensure he gives back to the society from which he has benefitted, and has done much in this regard.

Sharing the legacy, giving back

Most recently, Sukanto Tanoto’s APRIL was featured by Indonesian publication Metro Riau. Specifically, the company’s well loved community development (CD) programme – which seeks to help locals begin their own entrepreneurial journeys – was covered. One beneficiary of the CD programme, Budiono, was interviewed. Budiono, now the proud owner of a motor garage, was given a life-changing opportunity through the CD programme run by Sukanto Tanoto’s APRIL. Not only did APRIL provide Budiono with training on managing his own business, the company helped Budiono with his applications for bank loans. The rest, as they say, is history – and today Budiono is yet another success story in an Indonesia that growingly entrepreneurial.

APRIL’s CD programme is just one of Sukanto Tanoto’s many commitments in ensuring that his businesses’ presence in local communities remains beneficial for everyone involved. It is in line with his business philosophy of creating shared value in a sustainable manner, and looks set to continue for a long time more.

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Empowering the Community: Sukanto Tanoto’s APRIL Improves Lives Through Scholarships

Sukanto Tanoto is a staunch believer in education; in its power to enhance and empower lives, and the need to be a lifelong learner to stay ahead. Despite all of his successes – he is after all, chairman and founder of RGE, which manages companies such as APRIL, Sateri, and Pacific Oil and Gas – it has remained one of his passions. In part, it is a passion borne from the disruption of his education at the age of seventeen. Far from dampening his desire to learn, it has made him a more voracious and motivated learner. Not only has he taught himself English by translating Readers’ Digest and Newsweek, he has also undergone further studies at one of the world’s top business schools, INSEAD.

Turning passion into a cause

More than just a spirited learner, the billionaire entrepreneur is also adamant that no one else should ever have to suffer the same fate as he had as a seventeen year-old. Through Tanoto Foundation, the philanthropic foundation he founded with his wife Tinah Bingei Tanoto, they have dedicated time, effort, and resources into educating, empowering, and enhancing the quality of lives to alleviate poverty. Even for his companies, Sukanto Tanoto has worked hard to ensure his companies do their part too.

Empowering the Community: Sukanto Tanoto’s APRIL Improves Lives Through Scholarships

Effendi’s dream, APRIL’s mission

PT RAPP, the Indonesian operations arm of APRIL, has been active in this regard. A staunch supporter of the country’s brightest young talents, RAPP offers scholarships to deserving young students. 25 year-old Effendi is one beneficiary of APRIL’s help. Coming from a poor family in Riau’s countryside, Effendi worked hard in school in the hopes of improving his family’s financial circumstances.

His determination wasn’t in vain, and APRIL soon recognised his potential. It was enough for the pulp and paper giant to offer him a scholarship back in 2011. Since then, Effendi has only gone from strength to strength. Graduating from Yogyakarta-based agriculture college Institut Pertanian Stiper (Instiper), today he is a researcher at RAPP. He focuses on peatland research, a vital aspect of the sustainable peatland management philosophy that Sukanto Tanoto’s APRIL espouses.

Safe to say, Effendi has made the right choice in accepting RAPP’s scholarship years ago. Not only is he not required to pay back for the scholarship, he is now able to support his parents and siblings.