The Jakarta Post
One of Indonesia’s signature dishes is tempeh, fermented soybean cakes that has grown in popularity not only in Asian countries, but also in European countries.
Tawi, a humble businessman from Pekalongan, Central Java, is one man who has taken tempeh abroad. Tawi has been running a tempeh stall since 2004 at the Pasar Tradisional Modern BSD City (Pasmod BSD) in South Tangerang, Banten, and only recently started exporting his tempeh to several Asian countries.
In the early 2000s, Tawi dreamed of running his own tempeh business, but a capital of only Rp 1 million was insufficient. Therefore, he decided to start small by selling his products door to door on his bicycle in South Tangerang area. One day, he happened to pass by the Pasmod BSD, and was attracted to the public market’s interesting concept, which incorporated the modern principles of convenience and efficiency with the concept of a traditional market.
In 2004, Tawi was finally able to raise enough money to set up his own tempeh stall at Pasmod BSD. Thanks to its affordable price, his tempeh quickly became popular among local consumers.
Along with the growing population in the BSD City residential suburb, entrepreneurs at the market are also enjoying growth in their businesses, including Tawi. Each day, he produces 200 to 400 pounds of tempeh. He has also expanded his business to markets beyond Pasmod BSD.
This growth encouraged Tawi to set his bar higher, and he began dreaming of expanding his business to the international market. His wish came true in 2013, when Tawi began exporting 70,000 cakes of tempeh each week to Taiwan. He also exported his products to Hong Kong.
The demand for tempeh in the two countries is very high, and Tawi worked even harder to cater to his international customers’ needs. Thanks to his dedication to fulfilling the needs of his domestic and foreign customers, he now makes Rp 3,800,000 in daily net income from his stall at Pasmod BSD.
“I feel fortunate to have found a market that supports my business, and would like to extend my gratitude to the middle-class consumers who always flock to Pasmod BSD to buy their groceries, while thanking the market’s managers for taking care of small entrepreneurs like us,” said Tawi.
He was also grateful for the Pasmod BSD management’s program called Pasar Rakyat School (Traditional Market Learning Center), which equips traders with skills such as food hygiene and health, as well as a financial planning session that is facilitated by Sinar Mas Land.
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