Sharing a story with EFN Asia

by Felicia Nugroho

I was honored for the opportunity to share with EFN Asia members, the story of Es Teler 77 and the journey of my late father, Sukyatno Nugroho. It was even more special that I could share the story at my own ‘home’, Es Teler 77 Resto, surrounded by familiar aroma of Bakso Super, Nasi Goreng and Es Teler of course.

EFN Asia held their annual conference on 7th-9th October 2010. The focus for this year’s conference was “Migration and Wealth of Nations”. The conference itself was attended by institutes, practitioners and influential think-tanks from our neighboring countries. After a day’s full of learning, there’s nothing more perfect for the visitors to taste some Indonesian food at a place with entrepreneurial history.

The friendly gathering was held on Thursday, 7th October and attended by Pasha Sukardi, representing Partai Demokrat, Dr. Wolf-Dieter Zumpfort (Deputy Chairman of FNS) and Rainer Heufers (Resident Representative of FNS Indonesia) and other EFN Asia members.

Es Teler 77 and Sukyatno Nugroho story is about opportunities that are open to any Indonesian who have entrepreneurial spirit and willingness to work hard to reach success.

This fascinating story began in the early 1980s where my family, like any other working-class families, struggled to make ends meet. But with my grandmother’s, Murniati Widjaja, winning Es Teler recipe combined with entrepreneurial wits of my late father, Sukyatno Nugroho, the first Es Teler 77 was born in 1982.

The first Es Teler 77 was a ‘warung’ located on a verandah of one office building (formerly known as Duta Merlin, Harmoni, Jakarta Pusat). It was a humble beginning with several umbrellas and basic make-do furnitures. The family members worked 16-hour day in the ‘warung’.

The early years were not easy. Often when the business started to go well, the landlords wanted a share of the pie. The landlords increased the rental up to 10 times. My family had no choice but to pack-up and closed down the shop immediately.

Having ‘never-give up’ attitude, my late father saw an opportunity in this. Somewhere along the way, he stumbled on a business concept called ‘franchise’. The idea that was so foreign then. But, with his very limited English he was determined to learn it. He thought he could apply this model for his Es Teler 77.

Today, with hundreds of outlets spread across archipelago and across the sea (3 in Singapore, 2 in Australia, 1 and more to come in Malaysia), Es Teler 77 have created thousands of jobs directly for people of Indonesia and hundreds more indirectly through fruit and vegetable farmers, meat suppliers and fisheries in the country. By adapting a unique business model, Es Teler 77 partners with many other SMEs in Indonesia.

Nevertheless, for my late father, the journey was not just about building the business. Long before the term CSR that is now becoming fashionable, Sukyatno Nugroho already exercised social leadership. He never forgot where he came from. He wanted others, especially the small businesses, the street vendors and youths of the nation, could learn from him. He was very passionate to share and give back to the society. He did it in his own way.

Known as a very creative man, he often organized competitions such as “Gado Gado Competition” for the low economy men and women, in which 40 out of 150 participants came out as winners. Competition like this raised eyebrows. It was considered by critics as outrageous. But Sukyatno had a purpose. Each of the 40 winners was given prize money and a banner “Gado Gado Champion” so that they can readily open a business of their own. That was his way to help and to inspire others.

Indonesia is a fortunate country, with abundant resources, rich in good food and cultures with over 240 million people.

The story of Es Teler 77 started from just an ordinary working-clas family who made it happened and brought a humble Indonesian product to become a national icon and gone global. I would hope that this story could inspire other entrepreneurs and budding entrepreneurs to grow and succeed. Just imagine how even richer this country will become.

About Prinsip Di Sini Senang, Di Sana Senang
Biografi Sukyatno Nugroho (pendiri Es Teler 77). Cerita petualangan seorang lelaki putus sekolah, yang sempat mengalami jatuh-bangun berkali-kali, tetapi dengan keuletan dan kegigihannya berhasil menaklukkan segala keterbatasannya sampai akhirnya berhasil membangun bisnis waralaba makanan cepat-saji pertama di Indonesia.

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