Istikanah is now a successful exporter of charcoal briquettes to many countries in the Middle East. Her monthly turnover can reach Rp 1.6-2.5 billion.
Istikanah’s journey to becoming an exporter was not easy. She started the business not from charcoal briquettes but Shisa tools for cigarettes in the Middle East. She said that charcoal briquettes are closely related to Shisa. If there is Shisa, there must be charcoal. He said there was indeed a demand for briquettes, but he did not do it immediately.
In early 2005, he started brokering or marketing charcoal briquettes around his area. Eventually, he found a buyer from Saudi Arabia.
“My buyer asked me to make briquettes like this, then I learned that my neighbor happened to study chemical engineering in Jogja, he also produced activated carbon and I experimented together until I finally got the right product,” Istikanah said, Wednesday (4/21/2021).
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Istikanah said that at that time due to limitations, she only produced charcoal briquettes in one and a half months with manual tools. But the briquettes produced were of good quality so that demand began to be high from countries in the Middle East.
At the beginning of production, he could produce 700 kilograms of charcoal briquettes in one day. “When I could produce 700 kilograms, I was very happy. Now I can produce 5-6 tons a day, or 7 tons in two shifts,” Istikanah said.
In starting this charcoal briquette business, Istikanah admitted that she only used dengkul capital because she became a broker and took products from other people. Eventually, she was able to get funding from a bank to expand her business. Now every month Istikanah can ship 7-8 containers every day.
Istikanah also received the Coaching Program for New Exporter (CPNE) from the Indonesian Export Financing Agency (LPEI) last year, Istikanah saw an increase in export performance. Her company CV Indoarab Interprise also received a special export assignment financing facility (PKE) worth Rp 1.5 billion which was able to increase exports to 7 tons per month.
He revealed that the charcoal briquette products that have been successfully exported have the best quality in the world. Currently, CV Indoarab Interprise has exported products to 10 destination countries. According to him, with the increase in market demand from abroad, the need for labor has increased.