Resignation from Chef, Mr. Hikmat Initiates a Staple Food Business

Returning to his village after several years of living in Jakarta didn't make this father of two feel insecure. He wasn't hesitant to start a new life in the village after working as a chef at a five-star hotel in the Senayan area of ??Jakarta. The man's name is Mr. Hikmat (41 years old).

That afternoon, the air in Kampung Cikondang, Sipayung Village, Bogor Regency was quite cold accompanied by drizzle. We visited his fairly simple house. His house was located inside an alley, about a hundred meters from the main road. His cheerful face was evident as he welcomed us.
Our conversation started with the staple food business that he has been running for eight years now. He initiated this business shortly after leaving his job as a chef. For him, returning to the village and starting a business didn't require any shame, as this was his hometown. "I wanted to have my own business to be more independent (compared to working as an employee)," he added when asked why he was interested in opening this business. He mentioned that selling vegetables and household necessities is quite promising. These items are needed by the community every day, so there's no need to worry about them not selling. He admitted that the profit is considerable. The challenge, he further explained, is that he has to be physically strong because he has to wake up early before dawn. He said he goes to Leuwiliang and Cigudeg markets around 02:30 in the morning to shop. From around 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., Mr. Hikmat sells his merchandise in several villages.

Mr. Hikmat is not the only seller of vegetables and some daily necessities in this village. "There are several other people selling the same goods as me. So, there is competition as well. But we share the space. No one is allowed to sell in the same place (village). This is an unwritten agreement," he explained.
This business was developed with his own capital. Mr. Hikmat didn't wait for a large capital to start the business. He also wasn't interested in borrowing from the bank to increase his capital. Only 500 thousand rupiahs of initial capital were used when this business started. At that time, the goods were carried using a motorcycle. The load was also not much, adjusted to the capacity of the motorcycle.
Until finally, four years later, Mr. Hikmat joined as a member of the Nurani Mulya Jaya Marketing Cooperative. According to his statement, he was interested in becoming a member of this cooperative because the interest rate was small compared to the "emok" bank (loan sharks consisting of women known to be cruel and forceful during loan repayments with very high interest rates) that were prevalent in his village. Besides that, the Nurani Mulya Jaya Marketing Cooperative was also considered friendly. If it's already due, borrowers are given an extension of time.

As of now, Mr. Hikmat has accessed funding from the Nurani Mulya Jaya Marketing Cooperative twice, amounting to 4 million and 10 million respectively. Mr. Hikmat is an exemplary borrower. He is disciplined in repaying the installments and has had no issues during the repayment period. According to him, the second loan is almost fully paid off.

The quality of life for Mr. Hikmat's family has improved since accessing funding from this cooperative. With such loans, he can provide a relatively complete range of goods compared to before. Consequently, with this improved condition, the revenue also significantly increases. "Alhamdulillah, currently the revenue is getting better. On the lowest days, I can earn 2 million, and on the highest, I can earn up to 3 million," he explained with a pleased expression.

Mr. Hikmat no longer sells his goods by motorbike. For the past two years, he has been selling using a pickup truck that accommodates a wider range of vegetables and daily necessities. He acknowledges that the installment for this truck is taken from the proceeds of his business.

In addition to meeting his family's daily needs and his children's education expenses, another impact of this business is that Mr. Hikmat is now also developing a chili, cucumber, and other vegetable garden to support his business. This way, he doesn't have to rely entirely on the market. Vegetable supplies can come from his own garden. Costs can be reduced, and profits can be increased. He said, "For current business needs, I am also developing (planting) chili, cucumber, and other vegetables from seedlings to paying people who work on them."

He is grateful for being a member of the Nurani Mulya Jaya Marketing Cooperative. Since becoming a member, his business has started to grow. The presence of this cooperative brings the community closer to access to capital and helps them develop their businesses.

Mr. Hikmat, a mobile grocery seller who accessed business funding from the Nurani Mulya Jaya Cooperative under the guidance of Gugah Nurani Indonesia.

Written by: Yosfialdi
Edited by: FD Team

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