Sukanto Tanoto – In an interview with Sukanto Tanoto, he was asked ‘What does it take to be successful in pioneering: create something out of nothing and what kind of people we need to lead this kind of business?" His reply was "people who take calculated risks".
At the beginning of 2015, Asia Symbol (Shandong) Pulp and Paper Co., Ltd. concluded a favorable memorandum agreement with the border authority that oversees the Chinese port city of Rizhao. This Memorandum of Port Self-Management is designed to comply with entry and exit regulations and to speed up immigration clearance for the company’s cargo vessels importing wood chips.
The memorandum calls for the formation of a collaborative working group run jointly by Asia Symbol and the Rizhao authorities. This group will oversee routine day-to-day operations, and is designed to ensure that the company’s ships proceed through the port’s immigration and security checkpoints quickly and efficiently.
The agreement emphasizes the leadership of the border authority, as well as the company’s self-management of its fleet. In cooperation with the Rizhao authorities, Asia Symbol will co-administer port operations that affect its vessels. Specific benefits for the company, as outlined in the memorandum, include designated berths at the port for the company’s vessels carrying wood chips. In addition, Asia Symbol will enjoy designated cargo types, as well as specified routes for its shipping vessels, electronic and biometric security controls for accessing relevant systems, and an enclosed embankment area.
In fulfilling its duties, Rizhao’s border authority follows the protocols of the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code, which was established to increase the security of global commerce in the days following the 2001 terror attacks in the United States.
Asia Symbol is one of the natural resources manufacturing companies within the RGE Group, the $15 billion conglomerate headed by CEO and founder Sukanto Tanoto of Indonesia. RGE companies maintain production facilities in Indonesia, China, and Brazil, and employ a global workforce of some 50,000 people. The company’s Rizhao facility represents the world’s biggest single pulp production line, and one whose technological standards exceed those commonly in operation throughout China. In addition to the increased economic prosperity it has brought to Rizhao and surrounding areas, Asia Symbol has focused on corporate social responsibility by supporting local educational and social service programs.
The Tanoto Foundation works to support a wide range of educational efforts throughout Indonesia and beyond. In addition to its academic scholarships for college-bound young people of limited means, the foundation offers funding to assist teachers in furthering their own education. The Tanoto Teacher Scholarships not only increase teachers’ skills and knowledge, but also allow them to provide better education to their students. In keeping with the Tanoto Foundation’s overall goals, these benefits to teachers and students are a major contributor to economic growth in local communities and the nation as a whole.
Recently, two teachers who have benefited from Teacher Scholarships spoke publicly about the way the program has improved their lives and boosted their careers.
Dedi Santosa, a young teacher in a public school in Tanjung Jabung Barat in Jambi Province, Sumatra, began by describing the rigorous admission process he completed to earn the scholarship. The three-part procedure consisted of administrative paperwork, a psychological evaluation, and a series of interviews. Mr. Santosa had never taken a psychological test before, and he was challenged to complete some components of the admissions process in only a few hours. However, the financially struggling teacher, whose livelihood is based on honorariums, noted that his efforts paid off in offering him expanded opportunities for earning a good living.
A second educator, Myrta Andini, teaches elementary students in a public school in Sumatra’s Riau Province. She also found the admissions criteria challenging, but credits careful preparation with helping her to pass. Ms. Andini said that she first learned of the Tanoto Teacher Scholarship opportunity from her parents, and expressed her appreciation for the chance to increase her ability to provide a better education for her students.
Indonesian entrepreneur and billionaire Sukanto Tanoto created the Tanoto Foundation to help Indonesia’s people lift themselves out of poverty. Economic hardship forced Mr. Tanoto to leave his own formal schooling while he was still in his teens, but he went on to found the RGE Group, a now-$15 billion corporate family of natural resource manufacturing companies. Through his foundation, he supports education as a means of empowering the ordinary people who will increase Indonesia’s ability to compete in the global economy.
In early December 2014, the Tanoto Foundation’s Tanoto Entrepreneurship Series once again united young people interested in business careers with some of the country’s most successful entrepreneurs.
Susi Pudjiastuti recently became Indonesia’s first cabinet-level minster to have never finished high school. The new Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries left her formal education as a teen and started her own seafood and fisheries business, now a multi-million-dollar concern. Her company, based in West Java, transports its products throughout the region surrounding Indonesia on its own fleet of airplanes called Susi Air.
Irwan Hidayat heads PT Sido Muncul, a family herbal medicine business that he took public in 2013. After modernizing operations in the early 1970s, Mr. Hidayat established research centers at several colleges in order to prove the efficacy of his company’s products. Today, Sido Muncul’s herbal medicines have gained widespread acceptance throughout Indonesian society. Thanks to his company’s success, Mr. Hidayat’s net worth stood at $660 million at the end of 2014. Forbes magazine currently lists him as one of Indonesia’s 50 richest individuals.
Sukanto Tanoto, ranked among Indonesia’s top ten on the Forbes list, heads the RGE Group, which he grew from a small family-owned business into a $15 billion international natural resources manufacturing powerhouse. Through the Tanoto Foundation, he, his wife, and their grown children give back to their country by funding a wide variety of social service initiatives, early-childhood learning projects, and scholarships and educational programs for young adults. Mr. Tanoto had to leave school early due to family economic difficulties. Thus, the Entrepreneurship Series’ mission of inspiring today’s young people to work hard, take strategic risks, and believe in their abilities is particularly meaningful to him.
At the December 2014 event, held in Jakarta, Susi Pudjiastuti and Irwan Hidayat related the struggles and challenges they themselves had to overcome as new entrepreneurs. The series receives additional support from the University of Indonesia’s Faculty of Economics.
Since 2012, the Tanoto Foundation has worked through its corporate partner Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper (RAPP) to develop sustainable agriculture projects to benefit the people of Riau Province. Currently, the foundation supports a demonstration farmland plot that it hopes will become a source of community empowerment.
RAPP, one of the companies under the flagship of Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL), maintains large-scale pulp milling operations in Riau. By supporting the cultivation of a two-hectare plot of peat land in Sering Village as a pilot program, RAPP has demonstrated its ongoing concern for the wellbeing of the communities in which it does business.
In addition, RAPP has furthered its community involvement through a partnership with Bogor Agricultural University’s research projects on tropical horticulture. The collaboration focuses on best practices in the cultivation of peat lands, like those so plentiful throughout Riau Province.
So far, the demonstration plot has cultivated, on a trial basis, honeydew melons, tomatoes, bananas, chilies, and other produce. Over the long term, RAPP plans for the project to provide economic empowerment and self-sufficiency for the residents of the village. Sering has the potential to become a central hub for the harvest of a variety of produce.
APRIL and RAPP make up one of the major lines of business within the $15 billion RGE Group headed by Sukanto Tanoto, whose personal and professional dedication to fostering healthy communities is exemplified in his family foundation. The Tanoto Foundation is committed to alleviating the stresses of poverty in Indonesia by supporting higher education scholarships, entrepreneurship training, and a range of social service and local infrastructure development projects. Furthermore, APRIL, through its corporate focus on wise management of the forests and woodlands that drive its profits, works to further the adoption of environmentally sustainable business practices throughout its industry.
Students from Indonesia’s Bandung Institute of Technology recently won the Indonesia Aerial Robotics Contest (IARC) of 2014. Every year, the country’s Ministry of National Education and Culture sponsors the contest, which is the oldest collegiate aerial robot design competition in the world. The Aksantara team received first prize in the fixed wing category, as well as the best design award and the best presentation award for a university. Among the team’s supporters was the Tanoto Foundation, the nonprofit organization created by Indonesia’s Sukanto Tanoto, a self-made entrepreneur who concentrates on funding educational initiatives and other programs that can help lift underserved communities out of poverty. The Tanoto Foundation currently partners with more than two dozen Indonesian universities to award scholarships and to sustain other educational enhancement programs.
Led by aeronautics and astronautics student Rivaldy Varianto, the Aksantara group initially consisted of a small team of like-minded students that later expanded to welcome others studying in different areas of the institute. The team members built on what they had learned during the previous year’s competition to come back stronger in 2014. Speaking for the team, Varianto described the students’ hopes that their work can assist Indonesia in building its research and development capacity. Ultimately, they would like to see their country take a leading role in supplying global markets with advanced aerial robotic technologies.
Aerial technology, such as that produced through the IARC, can play a vital role in a nation’s disaster response and natural resource management capabilities by monitoring hazards such as forest fires. Sukanto Tanoto’s $15 billion RGE Group of corporations includes Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL), a wood pulp producer that aims to pioneer new, more effective methods for fire tracking throughout its agricultural concessions.
Through competitions such as the IARC, Indonesian higher education students can begin to assume their places as technologically sophisticated innovators in an increasingly competitive world.
The Tanoto Entrepreneurship Series, funded by the Tanoto Foundation in collaboration with the economics faculty of Universitas Indonesia, aims to be a strong weapon in the fight against poverty in the Southeast Asian nation by providing education and support for student entrepreneurs. This lecture series engages distinguished entrepreneurs as guest speakers to address the practical needs of today’s students and emerging business professionals. Through the generosity of Indonesian-born entrepreneurSukanto Tanoto, the series has hosted guests that include current Indonesian president Joko Widodo.
The most recent lecture series, held in Jakarta in October 2014, featured presentations from two well-regarded names in Southeast Asian business: Sudhamek AWS, the chief executive officer of Garuda Food, and Niluh Putu Ary Pertami, creative director of the Indonesian shoe brand Niluh Djelantik. The two successful businesspeople shared their secrets and their insights with the Tanoto Entrepreneurship Series’ graduate program students and recipients of Tanoto Foundation educational scholarships.
Sudhamek AWS offered information based on his experiences heading one of the region’s best-known food brands. Given the fact that Indonesia’s infrastructure still needs to make substantial progress before it can facilitate consistent delivery of goods and services, he has faced major obstacles in implementing his corporate strategy. Nevertheless, he believes that dedication to hard work and constant learning are necessary keys to success. Sudhamek praised the Tanoto Entrepreneurship Series as a means for business leaders to share their own early struggles in a way that will make the road easier for those who follow.
Sukanto Tanoto himself serves as an illustration of Sudhamek’s ideas. As a self-made entrepreneur who has pursued a lifelong course of formal and self-directed education, Mr. Tanoto places great value on learning. Through the Tanoto Foundation and its Entrepreneurship Series, he hopes to share the insights he and other leaders have gained, in order to support the efforts of everyone who has the potential to assist the economic growth of Indonesia.
Sukanto Tanoto is proud of his history as a self-made entrepreneur. The Indonesian-born son of Chinese immigrant parents, he grew up in modest circumstances helping out in his father’s business. While still a young man, Sukanto Tanoto built on his father’s small company, learned everything he could about business practices and methods, and made shrewd strategic moves that earned him success. Now, Mr. Tanoto is among Indonesia’s richest individuals. He heads the RGE Group of companies, which he has grown over the years to a total worth of approximately $15 billion. By utilizing his philosophy of diversification and practicing wise stewardship of corporate and environmental resources, Mr. Tanoto has managed to weather multiple international business storms.
He concentrates on giving back to the struggling students of today through the Tanoto Entrepreneurship Series, held in collaboration with the Magister Management Program within the economics faculty at Universitas Indonesia – Tanoto Entrepreneurship Series 2014. The series brings successful entrepreneurs to present public lectures to a wide audience of students and would-be businesspeople. Through these talks, aspiring young entrepreneurs can begin to understand the entrepreneurial mindset, gain practical advice on starting and running their own businesses, and forge connections with notable leaders in a variety of fields. Among the past lecturers in the series is Indonesia’s newly elected president, Joko Widodo.
Currently, the percentage of Indonesia’s population working as entrepreneurs is about 2 percent. Studies point to the fact that, if a nation is to boost its economic growth, that is the bare minimum level of entrepreneurial experience necessary. Sukanto Tanoto believes that starting out young enables an entrepreneur to approach problems and challenges with a fresh outlook, large reserves of energy, and the free time necessary to create truly innovative solutions. By beginning his own entrepreneurial life so young, he believes that he was able to develop positive habits, such as resilience and determination, that fueled his later success.
In order to further the goals of individual students, as well to assist his entire country in alleviating the problem of poverty, Mr. Tanoto is pleased to offer the lecture series and associated educational funding and scholarships.
To watch more about the Tanoto Entrepreneurship Series, please click here.