Best Projects 2019 features all the nominated entries submitted ‘Submit your Project’ category. All the entries consist of innovative projects run by existing enterprises in the form of businesses, NGOs or informal programs.
Explain your project in details:
Established as the pioneering avocado oil industry in all of Southeast Asia, Avoil Indonesia was officially registered in June under the LLC Alpukat Karya Bangsa. The name is a simple derivation of the words avocado and oil. Despite being roughly 2 months old, the project initiation phase lasted in late 2018. Project charters, feasibility studies, market research, and the minimum viable product were all designed and created from September to November 2018. We started with the main target of alleviating the economic turmoil many people in Indonesia, more specifically farmers living in disaster-prone areas, are currently facing. Hence, Avoil, initially, was intended to be a sustainable, avocado oil producing home industry, in which avocado farmers are able to attain increased income through the value added to an avocado from the oil extracting process. When I conducted my television-documented socialisations with avocado farmers in Lombok, I introduced them to the basic techniques of extracting avocado oil from avocados which could be performed at home. After the extraction process was complete, Avoil would buy the crude avocado oil from the farmers, which would then be sold in the competitive international market. However, I intend to further Avoil with a larger-scale scope of vision, and plans to build an avocado oil mill in the heavily avocado-infested regions of Lombok and Banyuwangi have commenced. Many have questioned us on how we will not fail without any expert knowledge on oil production. That is why we are currently very close to closing a mutual collaboration venture deal with the giants of the consumer-grade, healthy oils industry: Zenat International Group. We have visited their mills in Spain to learn more about this exponentially growing, high demand industry, as well as understanding more in depth about the crude oil extraction, extra virgin oil refining, and waste disposal.
Impact of your enterprise on sustainable development
My Avoil journey began on September 1, 2018. I travelled to the tropical tourist island of Lombok with Heart For Lombok, an NPO I formed in the aftermath of the devastating August Lombok earthquakes. I soon discovered that agriculture was the main source of income to locals, and learned that avocados are abundant in Lombok; almost every commoner owns an avocado tree in their home backyards. After the trip, I had the dream and noble passion to aid in alleviating the economic turmoil which succeeded the earthquakes in Lombok, which had left numerous in extreme poverty. Having produced roughly 363,000 tonnes of avocados in 2017, Indonesia is the worlds 4th largest avocado producer in the world, placing amongst a domination of South American countries. Despite the vast quantities of avocado harvested in Indonesia yearly, many avocados are left unconsumed. Not all avocados are absorbed by the market as the market supply exceeds the market demand in Indonesia. This may be due to the fact that avocados are not widely consumed in Indonesia like in other countries, where avocados are often turned to breakfast items such as avocado mash and avocado toast. In Indonesia, most avocados are eaten sweet and not savory, and are mostly used in juices and desserts, as most Indonesians are not yet aware of the potential health benefits and natural remedies possessed by avocados. Approximately 30% of all harvested avocados end up on shelves in supermarkets to be purchased by customers, and roughly 70% are discarded. This means that avocados observed in supermarkets are of the best quality, while lower-grade avocados are either thrown away or turned to animal fodder, where the unit price per kilogram of avocado decreases significantly. Hence, avocado farmers whose harvests don't satisfy the quality standards face reduced earnings and remain poor.
Sustainability and future plans
Aware that working in the agricultural industry is no easy feat, we are therefore currently closing on two partnership deals with Zenat International Group and Bayer Indonesia. Our partnership with Zenat is for finances; we have signed an NDA and have obtained their commitment for investment. We are currently finalizing the legal aspects of the investment agreement, which will soon be signed. Our partnership will benefit Zenat too; Avoil will obtain low-grade Indonesian avocados and turn them to crude avocado oil, which Zenat will then take and refine into food-grade, extra virgin avocado oil - ready to be sold in the international market. Meanwhile, our partnership with Bayer Indonesia will ensure a continuous supply of avocados throughout the year. The main challenge, initially, was how to tackle the issue of having no avocados to extract oil from during off-seasons. In Indonesia, avocados are naturally grown; there are no large-scale avocado tree plantations. There are two locations avocado trees can be found in Indonesia: the jungle and almost every single households backyards in rural areas. Bayer Indonesia possesses access to hundreds of thousands of smallholder farmers, many of them avocado farmers living in different regions throughout Indonesia, where avocado harvesting seasons vary. Bayers smallholder farming approach is unique; farmers crops are monitored daily by a field assistant per 200 farmers, and farmers are thoroughly educated on when and how to use varying organic and non organic fertilizers, as well as when and how to use different types of pesticides. This systematic approach ensures plentiful and good quality harvests. Partnering with Bayer through its smallholder farming program will also incentivise farmers to farm smartly and properly, as they do not have to worry whom to sell their produce to; Avoil will be the off-taker of most, if not all, of the avocados harvested.
Your profile as an entrepreneur
I am 16 years old, having been born and raised in the metropolitan city Jakarta, the economically-booming capital of Indonesia. My Previous Startups: I have always been interested in social entrepreneurship, establishing my first startup, the peer-to-peer lending startup DanaPro, in 2017. Facing rejection by numerous angel investors, I refused to give up, continuously striving to improve the service we offer. In June 2018, after 6 months of unsuccessful results, combined with mounting pressure from existing competition, I halted work on DanaPro, instead focusing on Posi, a smart pillow designed for those suffering from scoliosis. I developed Posi with a team of like-minded entrepreneurial teens in the highly selective entrepreneurship summer program LaunchX. Despite gaining Silicon Valley investors interests, as well as gaining traction and completing market tests, multiple external circumstances were unforeseen and the project is undergoing RandD indefinitely. I visited Lombok on September 2018 with my NPO Heart for Lombok. After conducting trauma healing sessions and distributing basic necessities to the homeless, I visited villages which have been ravaged by the earthquake. My open-mindedness allowed me to see every need as a business opportunity; after learning that Lombok is rich in naturally-grown avocados, and understanding that the demand of avocados in Indonesia are low, I researched while interning in Indonesian International Institute for Life Sciences to make my dream of starting Avoil a reality. Toiling away for the past year, my arduous endeavor to aid poverty-ridden Indonesians have been successful. Being the pioneer of avocado oil production in all Southeast Asia, I continue the pursuit of prosperity for Indonesians facing severe destitution. I am the catalyst of change in Indonesia. Having been televised nationally 3 times, including TVRI (Indonesias State Television), I have been widely acknowledged by the public and the government as a young inspirational figure.