NYUAD: What made you decide to take the leap into your own business venture?
Fani: Businesses, organizations, and governments have realized more and more that sustainability and social impact should be part of their investment and business models. But solutions and standards are unclear. Everybody wants to do it, everybody talks about it.
Working in consulting over the past five or six years I’ve noticed similar problems across organizations: they lack dedicated capacity and resources, and regulations remain unclear. I want to create a hub that can work with different stakeholders to solve these problems and move them forward. I want to be a bridge.
Major: Political Science
Home Country: Indonesia
Current: Founder and CEO, Kolibri
NYUAD: Why entrepreneurship?
It’s the path I choose to take, even though it’s harder. It’s one thing to join a company where everything is set up. It’s another to move out on your own, pitch your ideas, meet investors, and do all the sales and marketing. I want to use this year as a growth accelerator. I'm taking a career break to build it up.
NYUAD: What inspired you to pursue a career in the impact sector?
It’s the mission. The work gives me a purpose that’s bigger than me. I didn’t come from privilege. I grew up in a family of farmers and laborers with less than USD 300 income a month. My school was an hour and a half away. I was affected by inequality and instead of pushing myself away from it, I want to challenge myself to solve some of these difficult problems. It gives me energy every morning.
[T]he academic rigor made me more confident. I can speak in front of governments, academics, business leaders, and at conferences. NYUAD gives you the confidence, safe space, the ideas, and the resources.
NYUAD: What experiences from NYU Abu Dhabi have benefited you the most?
There are plenty of skill sets that got me to where I am. First, the independence NYUAD gives you. The mentors are not telling you to do A-B-C, they’re asking, “What do you want to do?” And they help shape the right cadence.
Second, the amount of exposure to the world. All my J-Terms — London, Nepal, New York – exposed me to different perspectives. I also got to do a prestigious internship in Belgium, which led me to reimagine my future and made me decide to pursue my business minor which changed my career trajectory. I wouldn’t be this brave or courageous, now taking on my own venture, had I not been exposed to the mindset of doing business and starting something new.
Finally, the academic rigor made me more confident. I can speak in front of governments, academics, business leaders, and at conferences. NYUAD gives you the confidence, safe space, the ideas, and the resources.
With that combination, nothing can stop you.