photo credits: Action Education Vietnam
An Van Tuan, a 30-year-old entrepreneur from ethnic minorities living in the mountainous regions of northern Vietnam, received support from Action Education to develop his start-up.
Promoting entrepreneurship through Action Education
As a member of the Tay ethnic group, born and raised in Chieng Ken commune of Lao Cai province, An Van Tuan has been exposed to and familiarised with the typical medicinal plants of the Vietnam, from a very young age. Tuan started an agricultural cooperative with friends that produces and markets herbal extracts. He benefited from a business incubation programme offered by Action Education for ethnic minority youth. The cooperative had its first commercial success with the sale of essential oils, the products being well received and appreciated by local consumers. After these initial successes, Tuan and the members of the cooperative looked for new products to improve the business results and create more opportunities for the local people.
"I was already using perilla tea to relieve colds and coughs. I knew that this plant [also known as shiso] had many virtues, especially for its benefits against skin ageing. We decided with the cooperative to start producing it (...)
The training we received from Action Education helped us to improve certain aspects of the business and to expand the market. At first I was only thinking about how to sell more products. I gradually learned how to select products, eliminate those that don't sell well and bring more value to our customers.
Entrepreneurship contributes to improving people's income
The best thing about Tuan's project is probably not the commercial results, but the value it brings to the community. Currently, Tuan's business model, which uses associate vendors, has helped to improve the incomes of local people. Tuan said: "Currently, I have a network of 54 sales staff to present and sell the products. Their average income varies from a few hundred to two million dongs/month. For those who are active, the income can even reach VND3 million/month."
In the future, Tuan intends to expand the network of employees and train them to improve sales efficiency: "I will also add preferential policies for senior staff to retain them and pass on skills so that they can train each other. concludes Tuan.