Jakarta. The social enterprise East Bali Cashews was honored by the US Embassy in Jakarta on Tuesday (05/04) for the commendable societal impact it has in rural Bali.
The American-founded enterprise received the 2015 US Secretary of State's Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE) in Washington, DC, in March, in recognition of its contribution to the growth and development of the local economy of Bali.
East Bali Cashews was founded by Aaron Fishman in 2012, after seeing potential for growth in the rural village of Desa Ban, and the abundance of cashews in Indonesia.
When it first started, East Bali Cashews was assisted by KKR, a global private equity firm, by providing expertise and in the development of a business plan and financial model.
It has now grown from a factory to a village with an early learning center for farmers' children. It is a fully sustainable, zero-carbon facility, employing 350 people from the area.
"If you look at the social impact of East Bali Cashews, you can literally count the people who have benefited from the company. The people who were previously unemployed now have jobs, and they don't have to go to Sanur for their jobs, and now the children of the farmers study in the village's early learning center,” said Steven Okun, KKR's director for Asia-Pacific public affairs.
"KKR was one of the founding donors for the early learning center. After that project, we saw the power of education, which is why we want to open up a learning center for farmers and teach them about sustainable cashew farming practices, and educate the public about the farmers and the issues they have to go through," East Bali Cashews founder Fishman said.
The East Bali Center for Community Development is set to open later this year, and it will house an eco-lodge for travelers, and a learning center for the public.
The company exports half of its goods worldwide, and is planning to expand to West Nusa Tenggara and East Nusa Tenggara by the end of the year.