What I talk about when I talk about Hung Yen and Hungyenians :D
Hungyenians: a term coined by Toi Can Mua He to describe people born and live in Hung Yen, Vietnam
March 12, 2015, 13-year-old me unreservedly pitched the school’s first-ever English club to teachers and peers. In my village, limited educational opportunities hindered students’ access to the world. With achievements in Provincial English Olympiads, I consulted teachers and organized free public speaking workshops to help others learn English. Fortunately, they welcomed my initiative, which taught me about “maximizing current resources” — an asset to lead people and organizations to make a difference.
I aimed to unleash young people’s potential in larger communities. Backward induction was utilized when I founded Hung Yen Youth Forum (HYYF), a public-speaking and leadership program for aspiring entrepreneurs in my province. However, this time, “maximizing current resources” was half-baked in strategy. I could only find 5 inexperienced volunteers to sustain the project. The childhood concern haunted me: what was advantageous about my starting point? Hung Yen is not a tourist attraction, no mountain or sea, and its youth seems carefree. In retrospect, my old days’ lesson was restrained by these resources’ status quo, which prompted me to get out.
I redesigned the process. Instead of hosting events, I guided HYYF’s members on public speaking and networked with entrepreneurs nationwide to coach us in project management skills. I also conducted a design-thinking survey to find the hidden gems. Evaluating 356 responses broadened my mind about my hometown’s underrepresented advantages. Behind the lack of dynamism were entrepreneurial dreams: the provincial government endorsing HYYF, the school alumni funding our first activities, and the mentee aspiring to launch TEDx for Hungyenians. Personally, the power lies in young people like me, to leverage undervalued materials and build Hung Yen innovation hubs.
Empowered to pursue an entrepreneurial education and widen my knowledge, I quit seemingly the most prominent public university nationwide. Shameful discrimination was an unromantic litmus test. During the gap, I interned, explored how startups were founded, and passed the spirit to HYYF’s mentees. All efforts paid off when I received the Dean’s Scholarship, to study International Business Management at BUV. My fellows initiated their own clubs, later receiving international scholarships. We successfully organized TEDxYouth@LoNoiLake, bringing local ideas to the world.
Positivity can arise from any impoverished land with the growing minds of its people. I continuously developed my appreciation for this theme at LIZZY — my education startup, that provides disadvantaged students access to self-study materials and mentorship from the high-performers. These collective experiences inspired my growing curiosity about how small-size businesses can grow by discovering untapped opportunities, and how founders raise investments in their impact enterprises. YSEALI’s Social Entrepreneurship and Economic Development program could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that helps me pursue my goals, through comprehensive studies of successful local-global social enterprises and the people behind them. Besides, knowledge about fundraising and female entrepreneurship paves the way for my future path. To pay it forward, I am dedicated to mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs, especially female entrepreneurs within my communities and YSEALI networks. Besides, with the knowledge and skills gained, I hope to bridge local initiatives with funding like the YSEALI Seeds, thus strengthening the entrepreneurial movement across ASEAN.
This essay later got me into the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Academic Fellowship Fall 2021, Social Entrepreneurship and Economic Development theme in the US. Sharing this to pay tributes to Hungyenians and motivate each other forward. Thanks for the great memory ❤ , and positivity can definitely arise from any impoverished land with the growing minds of its people!