The founder and chairman of the Mayapada Group, Tahir’s entrepreneurial roots began during his university days, where he started a small retail business selling goods bought in Singapore to Surabaya.
The Beginning of Mayapada Group
Tahir started the Mayapada Group with a garment and textile manufacturing business in 1986, and four years later, he founded Bank Mayapada. While the garment business is gone, the bank has grown steadily throughout the years and is now the flagship of the Mayapada Group. Today, the Group is one of the leading conglomerates in Indonesia with operations in financial services, real estate, healthcare, media and duty free retail. Primarily based in Indonesia, the Group has also investments around the region including a listed company in Singapore along with 3 listed companies in Indonesia.
Tahir’s Philosophy to Success
To quote Tahir, “I don’t build deals, I don’t build transactions … I build foundations or platforms.” Elaborating on his definition of a platform, he says, “I treat every opportunity as a new consideration. When the opportunity comes, I have to ask myself, what is the capital requirement for now and for future expansion? Who are my competitors? What kind of level can I bring my company to?”
Tahir’s success as an entrepreneur ranked him 20th among the esteemed list of 2012 Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year, Dr. Tahir was also named Indonesia’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2011. He is also featured in the National Archives of the Republic of China as one of fifty most successful overseas Chinese citizens.
Tahir’s Philanthropy Efforts
Having coming from a poor Chinese family (Tahir’s parents used to make becak (a three-wheel rickshaw / pedicab), Tahir gives generously to philanthropic causes, especially in education. What others may see as philanthropy, he regards as his passion to serve society, to harness the potential of his wealth to help others. A devout Christian, he sees himself as a pipeline through which God blesses other people through him.
As an expression of Tahir and his family’s gratitude and Christian faith, the Tahir Foundation aims to improve the lives of Indonesians by providing access to adequate healthcare and education. In January 2012, he donated SGD 30 million to the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine. More recently, Tahir Foundation partnered with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in a combined $200million investment to alleviate social and welfare problems in Indonesia.