Sukanto Tanoto and his wife, Tinah Bingei Tanoto founded Tanoto Foundation in 1981 with the aim to help alleviate poverty in the communities they operate in. Tanoto Foundation gave out many scholarships in Indonesia, China and Singapore that provide education opportunity to many students. In Indonesia alone, hundreds of scholarships are awarded annually to top students from different universities in Indonesia. These scholars are from different faculties ranging from agricultural engineering to medicine. Tanoto Scholars are also given the opportunity to network and bond with one another through Tanoto Scholars Gathering held once a year in Kerinci, Indonesia. On day 3 of this year’s gathering, Sukanto Tanoto and Tinah Bingei Tanoto went down to the venue to meet all the scholars and get to know them better through a talkshow session. He shared many valuable values to all the scholars:
1) There is a need, especially for the younger generation, to have a mindset change – if you will, you can. Do not give yourself the excuse or opportunity to justify your failure. If one is able to plant this mindset in them since young, it will enable them to last longer in sustaining their dreams and visions.
2) If I don’t know, ask questions. Ask someone who knows. Ask questions why like this? Why not that? Asking questions is the most important key for learning. Find the people who already know about it, learn from their success stories or learn from their failure stories. Ultimately, keep learning – just like the theme of this year’s gathering, which is ‘Learn and Lead’.
3) Always be ready even when things are going smoothly. Be prepared with 3 what-if scenarios: best case scenario, worst case scenario and most likely scenario.
4) Be down to earth and avoid NATO (No Action, Talk Only). There is no absolute winning short cut to be a successful entrepreneur – it is a step by step process.
5) It is important to create a safety net for yourself should you face a crisis one day. To Sukanto Tanoto, his safety net is his family and close friends who can encourage him and give him moral support on some of the important phases of his life. It is important to have a strong mental support if you decide to take on this narrow route of entrepreneurship.
6) Life is full of ups and downs. When you are at the top, do not be arrogant. When you are in a valley, do not give up and always rely on your safety net to pull yourself together.
7) When you decide to embark on a significant business decision, always ask ourselves how long can you last in this journey? It is inevitable to face challenges during the implementation and execution process. That is why it is important to firstly build your knowledge about the issue and learn as much as possible before embarking on your journey. It is important to invest your time to master the field you are playing in.
8) Most of the time, capital is not the determining factor in your success. It is willingness to learn and perseverance that will bring you far in your life. Never say die and don’t give up without a fight. Of course, many will ask when is the right time to give up? The idea here is about the spirit of perseverance, not specifically about hanging on to a certain business idea. When the business concept is needs to be changed, change it. When you fail, get up again and keep trying, change your strategy or tweak your tactics till you get it.
9) Even if you have knowledge, it does not necessarily mean that you are capable. There is a need to add knowledge with experience in order to produce capability.
During question and answer session, one scholar asked Sukanto Tanoto about his dream for Indonesia. He shared that Indonesia is a country rich in natural resources and human capital. It is the world’s fourth most populated country in the world with a very huge market and untapped potential to be turned into power. However, it is crucial that Indonesia has a great leader who delivers, someone who not only talks but executes the plans till they come true. Slowly, Indonesia will have a self sustaining education and healthcare systems, making sure that these two necessities in every individual is properly taken care of.
As said by Sukanto Tanoto, RGE and its companies do not want to be the guest of the community, but to be part of them, to share the same burdens and dreams. This is the philosophy of the business and it is only through this that the business will be able to be sustainable.
For more details about day 3 of Tanoto Scholars Gathering, please click on the video below: