Sukanto Tanoto became one of Indonesia’s most successful executives through his hard work, ability to seize and make the most of business opportunities, and dedication to lifelong education. Mr. Tanoto heads RGE Group, a $15 billion corporate family that includes agricultural, forestry-based, and energy development companies. A former student at the prestigious Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Mr. Tanoto additionally heads the nonprofit Tanoto Foundation, which works to deliver university scholarships, teacher training, entrepreneurship workshops, and other services with the goal of empowering Indonesia’s underserved citizens and making the country more economically competitive.
Mr. Tanoto understands the value of public-private partnerships in fostering innovation and strategic risk-taking among new entrepreneurs. That is the reason for his foundation’s sponsorship of regular lectures through its Entrepreneurship Series. The series hosts distinguished businesspersons who share their knowledge and experiences with the emerging generation of independent business leaders in Indonesia.
The series thus aims to assist the rapidly developing country with the goals expressed in the recent National Entrepreneurship Movement launched by former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. In 2014, Yudhoyono went on record saying that, as one of the world’s fastest-growing economies in possession of abundant natural resources and untapped potential, Indonesia is poised to offer numerous opportunities to entrepreneurs, who can in turn give back to the country by contributing to its ongoing development.
In a recent article in Forbes magazine, United States Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker wrote of her address at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit held in Morocco, and made points that are particularly applicable to entrepreneurship in growing economies such as Indonesia’s. She believes in the power of peer-to-peer networking and mutual information-sharing among entrepreneurs, as well as in the necessity of government structures that support, rather than impede, the formation of new businesses. Among Pritzker’s ingredients for a thriving entrepreneurial culture are strong public-private-academic partnerships, a level playing field, and access to sufficient capital for everyone. In addition, she believes that governments must enact strong laws that protect intellectual property rights and make it easier for businesses to form and dissolve as needed.
In late 2014, the Tanoto Entrepreneurship Series once again hosted businesspeople who have distinguished themselves by their success in Indonesia. A project funded by the nonprofit Tanoto Foundation in partnership with the economics faculty at Universitas Indonesia, the lecture series has previously drawn luminary speakers such as Indonesia’s recently elected president, Joko Widodo. As part of the Tanoto Foundation’s goals of supporting individual entrepreneurial development and public education programs, the series strives to offer students practical knowledge based on the experiences of well-known businesspeople.
Niluh Putu Ary Pertami, the designer and creative director behind the luxury footwear brand Niluh Djelantik, joined Garuda Food CEO Sudhamek AWS to take turns at the podium. Niluh, whose brand is now available in fashionable European retail outlets, gained her love for style early in life. During her youth on the island of Bali, her family was not wealthy, and her mother routinely bought Niluh’s school uniforms and shoes several sizes too big, in order to economize the cost over several years’ growth. However, her mother also encouraged her ambitions, and sent Niluh to study business in Indonesia’s capital city of Jakarta. There, the young entrepreneur learned organizational and professional skills through both study and practical, on-the-job training.
Her lecture to the Tanoto group of student entrepreneurs focused on her experience as the head of a brand that it took her a decade to launch from one small local manufacturing shop onto the international stage. She believes in seizing opportunities as they arise and dedicating constant attention to improvement and innovation.
Sukanto Tanoto’s RGE Group of corporations, through its founder’s vision and dedication, has earned a significant share of the world’s business in energy development, palm oil and wood pulp production, and other manufacturing industries. Mr. Tanoto’s personal and professional focus on constant analysis, development, and innovation echoes the themes in Niluh’s address to the students. Through the Tanoto Entrepreneurship Series, he hopes to continue to assist emerging young business leaders with their efforts to drive economic and social growth in Indonesia.
Asia Symbol’s recent showcase of its paperboard product innovations earned praise from industry attendees.
A recent exhibition event held by Asia Symbol Pulp & Paper Co., Ltd., offered fellow industry professionals a close-up look at the company’s innovative packaging and containers. The 2014 Asia Symbol Showcase on Paperboard Products for Food Packaging demonstrated the company’s ingenuity and technological skill in building its liquid packaging board production line, as well as other initiatives.
One of the companies that makes up Indonesian businessmanSukanto Tanoto’s RGE Group of natural resources-based manufacturing firms, Asia Symbol has served as a leader in the pulp and paper industry in the Shandong and Guangdong provinces in China for close to a decade. Its plant in the city of Rizhao represents the largest single pulp production line in the world. Asia Symbol’s annual production capacity is set at more than one million tons of pulp product each year, and at hundreds of thousands of tons of paperboard and fine paper annually, with distribution in more than 20 countries.
At Asia Symbol’s exhibition, which took place at Rizhao’s Landbridge Jinjiang Hotel, corporate representatives from across China were able not only to admire new products, but to learn more about the company’s operations as well. Attendees took a trip to the site of Asia Symbol’s centralized control room servicing its mill, and visited its wastewater recycling location, wood chip dock, and the production line for its liquid packaging board. Company representatives provided additional insights through a question-and-answer session.
Event participants remarked on the cleanliness of Asia Symbol’s facility, and on the technologically advanced production methods in use at the plant. Additional comments focused on the company’s attention to maintaining high standards of environmental responsibility, which attendees believed could be used as benchmarks for the entire industry.
Asia Symbol’s liquid packaging board line, launched only three months before the showcase event, operates with a 300,000-ton yearly capacity. Its innovative, German-made processing machinery utilizes self-generated wet pulp, which increases efficiency, reduces waste, and results in a high-quality product made at a lower cost.