Pangkalan Kerinci, Riau. In Pangkalan Kerinci, a small town in Riau Province, a wide variety of small businesses are flourishing with the support of Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper, one of the largest pulp and paper producers in the world.
Among them is SMAF, a bus charter company that was owned by the late Yus Herman, who named the enterprise after his four children – Seroja, Mayang, Aisyah and Faiz. SMAF is now managed by Yus's wife Darneti.
Prior to the partnership with Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (RAPP), Darneti and her family lived in the provincial capital Pekanbaru, where Yus worked for the government.
He became a contractor for RAPP in 1991, providing company employees with transportation. He started with only 25 vehicles and gradually expanded the fleet, with SMAF currently operating 30 buses, which help RAPP employees get around the company's sprawling complex.
"We started with 25 Toyota Kijang pickup trucks and then switched to buses in the early 2000s. We had nine buses at first, and now we have 30," Darneti said.
After her husband passed away, Darneti had to manage the company on her own until their children grew up and started to help out in the family business.
RAPP advised Darneti to expand SMAF. Although she was initially hesitant, Darneti was eventually convinced by RAPP's community development manager, Sundari Berlian, and the company acted as her warrantor for the loans that were required to support the expansion.
"Riau Andalan recommended us for a loan to the bank, and now we make around Rp 1 billion [$72,700] per month," Darneti said, adding that they make additional money by chartering trucks to transport rocks and minerals.
Twenty-five of SMAF's buses are chartered by RAPP, while the rest are used for other commercial purposes.
Working with RAPP allowed the family business to flourish. Darneti currently employs 40 people, while her son recently opened a garage in Magelang, Central Java.
"Our family is very grateful to Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper for the support and cooperation that helped us achieve success. We hope they will continue to empower members of the local communities in the area, like they did for me my family," Darneti said.