Entrepreneur with disability builds business to develop agricultural potential in East Nusa Tenggara

Newly acquired knowledge on financial management from a training held by Riwani Globe, and the Small-Medium Enterprises and Co-operatives Empowerment Consulting Agency (LKP UKMK) helped Aprianus Adu calculate business costs and develop a simple business plan to utilise agricultural produce in East Nusa Tenggara.

Aprianus Adu, 55, is an entrepreneur and founder of various farmer groups in Teunbaun village, Amarasi Barat district, Kupang regency, East Nusa Tenggara. On a day-to-day basis, Apri – his nickname – produces various products such as virgin coconut oil (VCO), fermented feed for chickens and pigs, as well as running a free-range chicken farm.

Apri started his business by selling free-range chicken and fish at the local market in 1997. Eight years later, he opened a kiosk with a loan capital of IDR 5 million from a co-operative. However, this business went bankrupt because Apri did not have sufficient knowledge about financial management.

“I was not able to manage my finances well, my records were not clear, so my business did not run well,”

said Apri

Apri and his family's financial situation worsened after his left leg was amputated due to a prolonged bone infection. At that time, Apri, who has been physically disabled since birth, also lost his job as a church staff. He tried to earn an income by opening a CD rental and photocopy shop. He used the revenue to start a VCO production business.

Apri chose VCO as a mainstay product to utilize coconut trees that grow in all parts of West Amarasi. In addition, Apri explained that coconut has many health benefits, one of which is helping to reduce the symptoms of heartburn.

To improve his entrepreneurial skills, Apri enrolled in the entrepreneurship training held by LKP UKMK and ILO. "I registered to attend this training after receiving an invitation from LKP UKMK and felt this training would help me in managing the VCO business," said the middle-aged man who had once dreamt of becoming a teacher.

The training was a part of the Employment and Livelihood project, jointly organized by four United Nations (UN) agencies in Indonesia, including the ILO. The joint project was funded by UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Multi-Partner Trust Fund (UN MPTF) and aimed to provide equal opportunities for vulnerable groups in improving their income and quality of life. 

“We hope that targeted materials such as financial management knowledge can help small business owners to know the real conditions of their businesses and based on that, they can draft plans to develop their businesses,” said Budi Maryono, ILO's entrepreneurship specialist.

After registering, Apri successfully passed the selection to take part in the first entrepreneurship training (Training of Entrepreneur 1). After the training, he succeeded in making a simple business plan and was selected along with 19 other participants to take part in the further entrepreneurship training (Training of Entrepreneur 2) held by the Riwani Globe.

According to Apri, these two trainings gave him a lot of new knowledge. "The material that really helped me was the material on calculating business cost per unit because it made me realise that we cannot determine product prices just by looking at the prices set by our competitors, while maybe the raw materials that we use are different," said Apri.

He realised that he had not been able to profit from selling VCO products and decided to increase the price from Rp25,000 to Rp30,000 per 100 ml bottle. In addition, Apri began to apply knowledge about bookkeeping to ascertain the net profit value from his business.

Currently, Apri is starting to market VCO products through social media and e-commerce platforms. He also opened a simple shop in front of his house. According to Apri, many customers from outside East Nusa Tenggara came to buy VCO from him. "I want to continue to develop this business and expand my market throughout Indonesia," said Apri.