accessibility & help

Irvandi's story: the Bill Gates of Panton village

When the people of Panton village, in Aceh Jaya district, need documents typed up on a computer or printed, they head for Irvandi’s shop on the main road. At the back, the 22-year-old sits behind his desk, which boasts an impressive range of IT equipment.

He and his partner also sell stationery, stacked on shelves and in a counter at the front of the premises.

Irvandi, from nearby Pasi Tulak Bala village, lost both his parents in the tsunami but has made an admirable effort to provide for himself and his 15-year-old brother by starting his own business.

Starting out

Irwandi smiles from behind his counterAfter the disaster, the boys received a house built by the British Red Cross and a cash grant. Irvandi spent two semesters studying information technology in the town of Meulaboh, a two-hour car ride away.

He then used the Red Cross money to buy two computers, which he started renting out by the hour. He also gives training in basic software packages.

This April, he took advantage of the land title that came with his house to secure a Rp. 10 million (around £550) loan from Bank Pembangunan Daerah, a local development bank. So far he has used the cash to rent his shop and buy stationery stock.

“Many people are getting loans in this village,” explained Irvandi. “I did it on my own initiative, and went to ask the bank if it was possible. It only took them a week to process the loan.”

Sweet success

Irwandi helps a customer at a computerThe interest rate on the loan is 20 per cent over two years, and each month he has to pay back Rp. 500,000 (£27) from his turnover of around Rp. 2 million (£110) a month.

Canny Irvandi chose a site opposite the village school to set up his shop and says teachers and students are among his best customers, along with local officials.“It’s not going too badly and I am investing money in the business,” said Irvandi. “So far I’ve not had any trouble making the monthly repayments to the bank.”

One key tool he doesn’t yet have is access to the internet. But with Irvandi’s drive and ambition, it may not be too long before he finds a way to get connected.

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