Rama Datau
Category: Next Gen By : Aastha Saboo Read : 819 Date : Thursday, October 13, 2016 - 11:19:07




Ahmad Zamroni / Forbes Indonesia

Rama Datau’s journey from being an employee to entrepreneur has not been an easy ride. Despite being the grandson of Panasonic Global founder Thayeb Mohammad Gobel, Rama, 36, was taught the importance of money early on. While studying in Sydney, he only got just enough funds to cover his basic needs. “I just had money for daily food and transportation, so I worked part time as a kitchen hand in a fast-food restaurant. My salary was $12 an hour and during weekends I would work as a cleaner, in a Chinese restaurant, with a salary of $15 an hour,” he added.

Just after he was married, he was unable to cover his car payments sometimes, and even lived without electricity for almost three months. Yet, despite all this, he never asked his family for financial or other help. “My dad always pushed me to live independently and deal with adversities on my own, maintaining that once I get through the difficult times, then the easy situations will only be a very easy for me,” he says.

Rama has come a long way since then. Today, Rama is a successful entrepreneur and corporate executive. He has his own media and mobile firms, plus chairs the family’s logistics arm, GoTran Logistics International, and is deputy managing director at its food services firm, Gobel Dharma Nusantara (GDN). He is also chair of the Jakarta chapter of the Himpunan Pengusaha Muda Indonesia (HIPMI), the young entrepreneur’s association.

Rama always looked up to his grandfather, who started the Panasonic Gobel group in 1970 when he partnered with Japan’s National Panasonic group (then Matsushita Electric Industrial). This partnership made Panasonic Gobel one of the biggest electronics groups in the country, and allowed the family to spread into businesses across manufacturing, logistics, trading, hospitality and industrial catering. Their group is currently led by Rama’s uncle, Rachmat Gobel, who was also the former minister of trade in President Joko Widodo’s cabinet until August 2015. To get his own start in the group, Rama worked as an intern, driving forklifts and other assignments, as well as working as Rachmat’s personal assistant for while.

“I dreamt of being a businessman since I was a child,” says Rama. “My goal is to be a businessman not a worker. So while I will fulfill my duties to the family business, my long term dream is also to take my own businesses to great heights.” While Rama is still largely known because of his family’s business, he hopes that his new ventures will someday become as big as the Panasonic Gobel group.

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