Ruma’s story is one of thousands of micro-entrepreneurs, each one empowered with a highly transportable source of income. With a population of 240 million, Indonesia boasts mobile penetration of roughly 75 percent, but the rural poor face high per-minute costs for mobile usage due to shortcomings in the country’s distribution infrastructure.
With Ruma, Aldi Haryopratomo—Endeavor Indonesia’s first entrepreneur—has rapidly built a network of “Rekan Usaha,” who are equipped to buy and sell prepaid minutes for mobile phones in the country’s underserved rural communities. Today, Ruma serves over 1.5 million customers through this network.
Every day, Aldi deploys about 300 employees across Indonesia. On motorbikes, the field operators canvass neighborhoods block by block, recruiting new agents and managing the existing network of about 30,000 agents, of which nearly 75% are women. Ruma also recruits heavily from Indonesia’s two million independently-owned “mom and pop” stores.
“I’ve always thought that a few committed entrepreneurs can really make an impact on their country and their society,” Aldi said. “I wanted to be a part of that movement.”