Young women thrive in start-up field

HÀ NỘI Vietnamese women are proving business ideas can emerge from daily experiences.

Among them are Nguyễn Thị Như Ngọc who has started a project that helps people buy authentic products from overseas, Bùi Thị Minh Ngọc who runs a company that produces and distributes cotton sanitary pads, and Lý Kim Yến who provides young people with an opportunity to run their own businesses.

These women have founded and are running start-up companies before reaching the age of 30.

Nguyễn Thị Như Ngọc was an outstanding student in HCM City who got a job at Vietjet Air when she was in her fourth year at the Việt Nam Aviation Academy.

She was in charge of co-ordinating 100 ground service staff members both at domestic and international stations, but after a year she decided it was not the job for her.

“I didn't feel working for a big company was right for me, so I left my job and went to work at a technology start-up specialising in travel,” she said.

Two and a half years later, after taking the company to success as its business development and marketing director, again, Ngọc felt she wanted something more.

“One time while having dinner with a friend who was a flight attendant, I leaned how tourists often get tricked into buying fake products in Việt Nam and about the many experiences you should have when shopping overseas.

“From there I came up with, a website that connects customers in Việt Nam with people who often travel abroad so they can help each other buy authentic products from anywhere in the world.”

In January, Ngọc’s business idea was selected as a finalist for the Asia Business Competition at the Global Entrepreneurship Youth Summit in Malaysia.

Unlike Như Ngọc who focused o­n customer demands, Bùi Thị Minh Ngọc from Hà Nội takes advantage of her experience as a woman and runs a business that serves her biological needs and helps protect the environment.

As a student she took part in an ecological design course in Thailand in 2016, and that was the first time she heard of cloth sanitary pads.

“An average woman uses 10,000 sanitary pads in her life, and the time each pad takes to decompose is equal to that of four plastic bags. That was something that really bothered me,” she said.

From that she established Green Lady Vietnam, a company that imports cloth pads and distributes them across Việt Nam. A year later, Minh Ngọc decided to produce her own pads.

“Our small group of young women do everything, from choosing the materials to make the pads, to the production process, to marketing and distribution. My biggest challenge is to change Vietnamese women’s habits of using normal pads made from plastic to cloth pads.

“But the most wonderful thing I feel we are doing is creating trust among our customers and contributing to creating a green lifestyle. Running a start-up that benefits society is what pleases me.”

Taking the idea of a start-up to another level, Lý Kim Yến from Hà Nội comes up with her own business ideas, gets them up and running, then sells them to young enthusiasts who want to have a try at running their own businesses.

She is running simultaneously the Kim Technology Solution Company Ltd and the Hoa Xương Rồng (Catus Flower) Project, aiming to have 300 business projects that she can sell through these two platforms.

“I’ve had 50 projects by far. The cost of transferring a project is VNĐ95 million (US$4,000), and buyers can pay in installments over 19 months.

“It saves a lot of time and effort for those who buy and run my projects, because my company has already helped them develop products, find customers, decide o­n a business direction and provide capital and marketing support.”

Yến’s experiences in implementing business ideas stemmed from her failures with o­nline selling.

“After failing to maintain my o­nline businesses several times, I realised it could o­nly survive if it operated as a total package and took charge of the whole process from production to distribution to customer services,” she said.

It takes guts for young people – especially young women – to run a business, Yến said.

“You have to get over your own sluggishness. This is very important as the majority of those who struggle to succeed are those that keep thinking ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ instead of ‘today’ and ‘right now’.

“Young women who want to get into the business world need to have independent thinking, have a unique personality, and are willing to take everything head o­n.” VNS