Member : Nguyễn Thị Hồng

Age: 62

Living: Hưng Nguyên, Nghệ An

From a low-income household to an outstanding Citi Micro-entrepreneur – Vietnam 2016 

Being one of the 31 people honored for outstanding Citi Vietnam Micro-entrepreneurs of 2016, Mrs. Nguyen Thi Hong, TYM’s member from Hung Nguyen branch is a fine example for many women striving to escape poverty by effectively making use of microfinance services.
Mrs. Nguyen Thi Hong was born and raised in Nam Dan district, Nghe An province. Her family used to be a low-income household in the region. The main source of income for a four-member-family was from Mrs. Hong and her husband’s wages at a fishery company in Nghe An province. When the company closed, unluckily, Mrs. Hong and her husband had a hard time finding new jobs. After a period of struggling to develop family economy, the couple decided to make their living by producing Nam Dan soybean sauce, a traditional specialty in the locality.
It was hard for the couple to start producing and selling a traditional product that many households and individuals had already succeeded in and popularized their brands in the market. It was even harder for the couple due to their lack of capital, knowledge and experiences. Neverthless, they were not discouraged.
Mrs. Hong was determined to tackle all challenges one by one. At first, she decided to improve her capacity so as to produce high quality products.  She often actively learned production experiences from old people in the village in order to create her own family’s recipe. Simultaneously, she directly looked for input ingredients suppliers, and output buyers and traders to ensure stable input resources and output consumption. Next, she resolved the problem of lacking capital. As Mrs. Hong and her husband’s savings could only purchase a small amount of ingredients; she had to borrow from her relatives and even from private lenders with high interest rates. However, unstable capital sources did not help her overcome all difficulties.
Fortunately, in 2008, her family had a chance to avail a loan from TYM. She use this capital to buy more input ingredients, production machineries and facilities. Using TYM’s financial services, not only did she have money to buy more ingredients, but she could also avail bigger amount of loan year after year. As a result, she could expand the production scale, hire more employees, and increase the productivity of her business.
After each loan cycle, her soybean sauce production business has been expanded a little more. Moreover, she had an opportunity to participate in TYM’s financial education classes where she gained knowlege of economics. This helped her better manage the cash flow of her business and develop a budget for her business model. TYM’s seminars and trainings on soft skills fostered Mrs Hong’s management and leadership skills, and confidence to control and sucessfully run her own business.  Besides, she obtained advices on business activities and visited eminent economic models, etc. She applied her learned knowledge into developing a long-term business strategy by non-stoply boasting the quality of soybean sauce, flexibly adjust products to meet customers’ and market’s demand.
To ensure her products’ high quality, she looked for localities specializing in planting good quality soybeans to buy input. Her family’s soybean sauce underwent completely natural fermentation process without the use of additives and preservatives. Therefore, the products were not only delicious but also healthy. Despite the fact that Mrs. Hong’s soybean sauce was introduced to the market later than other brands, her products were still chosen and trusted by the local people. However, Mrs. Hong was not satisfied with her success; she wished her traditional product to be well-known and widely consumed. She started establishing her own brand and professionalizing production procedures. She bottled her products as per customers’ requirements and labeled each product so as to advertise the brand and nurture customers’ trust and confidence. Thanks to TYM, Mrs. Hong’s Nam Dan soybean sauce have been introduced and sold at many fairs across the country and are available at TYM’s outlets. Her family’s products have become more and more popular and trusted by a large number of consumers.