Learn, Earn, Return

Still only 20, Iman Usman has already started two companies, runs a national youth organization and met Vice President Boediono. He’s got plenty more to do.

At the age of 10 Iman Usman set up a free library for underprivileged kids in his hometown in Padang. Photo by Ahmad Zamroni

Muhamad Iman Usman appears to just another University of Indonesia student, wearing a t-shirt and a backpack. Yet he is far from an ordinary student. Still only 20, Iman has already started two companies, been invited to meet Vice President Boediono, won an award from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and given advice to billionaire Putera Sampoerna. He has traveled to Toronto to attend the G20 meeting, and also China and Japan for other events. Three years ago he co-founded the NGO Indonesia Future Leaders with five friends that now has offices in six cities, 600 volunteer staff, 7,000 followers on Twitter and 9,100 supporters on Facebook. Continue reading

Making a Difference

The Putera Sampoerna Foundation sees education as the top priority for its philanthropy

Putera Sampoerna pose with students of Sampoerna Academy in Bogor. Photo courtesy of Sampoerna Foundation

Billionaire Putera Sampoerna donated $150 million as an endowment fund to his family’s Putera Sampoerna Foundation when it was started in 2001. Since then it has disbursed $56 million as scholarships to the 34,600 students, some of them in elementary school and others in college, some of them even able to study abroad. In 2009, the foundation launched the Sampoerna Academy, a free boarding school that combined an international curriculum with the national curriculum, designed to create future leaders. The foundation has built two such Sampoerna Academies in Palembang and Malang with support from local governments and donors. The aim is to have one academy in every province within the next 10 years. Next up is a plan to build a university. Continue reading

Growing Minimarts

Alfamart went from one to nearly 5,000 stores in just over a decade, and it’s not slowing down.

Djoko posing near the cash register at Alfamart outlet in Meruya, West Jakarta. Photo by Ahmad Zamroni.

Alfamart may specialize in minimarts but there’s nothing mini about the business. Targeted at the low to middle classes, the chain has blossomed from one store in 1999 to 4,863 outlets across the islands of Java, Makassar, Bali and Lampung, as of February 16. Parent company PT Sumber Alfaria Trijaya should book Rp 18 trillion of revenues this year, up from Rp 14.5 trillion in 2010, with profit projected to grow to Rp 400 billion from Rp 250 billion, according founder Djoko Susanto, who is president commissioner. Continue reading