Visa is continuing to take action and help remove the disproportionate barriers faced by women business founders. The Visa She’s Next Grant Program, in partnership with IFundWomen, will provide three winning Vietnamese businesses with grants of $10,000 USD, along with a one-year IFundWomen Coaching membership.
Ms. Nguyen Phi Van – Investor, Consultant, Author, Speaker – addresses the challenges that a female entrepreneur and female founder must face in order to both develop herself, lead her business to success, and create value for society.
Visa Vietnam She’s Next Grant Program 2022 Winners Share Their Stories
EQUO, founded by Marina Tran-Vu, is a sustainable brand providing 100% plastic-free solutions for everyday single-use products, producing drinking straws, utensils and dishware from natural materials that are compostable such as sugarcane, coffee and coconut. The brand is tackling the plastic-pollution problem and being a distinct eCommerce retailer in its categories.
Palmania JSC, co-founded by Diu Chau, established with an aim to revive the traditional craft of palmyra nectar production of the indigenous Khmer people. It is a company steeped in the cultural heritage of An Giang, with the ultimate aim of enriching its minorities.
Tubudd JSC, co-founded by Annie Vu, is a platform connecting travelers with local experts (buddies) to supercharge their holidays and business trips. With 1,000 locals belonging to 12 countries waiting to be their guide, interpreter or personal assistant, travelers can get a truly authentic glimpse of their destination.
The three wining businesses all had compelling stories and aim to resolve relevant real–life problems. They also have strong digital presence and a tried and tested business model – with the potential to scale.
In Vietnam, Visa furthers its commitment by way of its extended Vietnam grant program, and with initiatives like the SMB toolkit and Practical Business Skills programs to support small businesses in driving efficiency and sales through the acceptance of digital payments and the expansion of businesses online.
Environmentally Friendly Products, Marina Tran-Vu, EQUO, Ho Chi Minh City
EQUO is a sustainable brand providing plastic-free everyday single-use products like drinking straws, utensils and dishware from natural materials that are compostable such as sugarcane, coffee and coconut. The brand is not only tackling the massive plastic-pollution problem but is challenging the industry by going direct-to-consumer with traditionally commoditized B2B products, building a strong, bright and distinct eCommerce and retail brand in previously over-looked categories.
EQUO proves that there is business in environmentally friendly products as it is present on 5 continents and has generated impressive revenue during COVID-19 while being named a Top 9 global start-up by the UNOPS S3i Innovation Center Global Challenge 2022.
“I love the fact that you emphasize just the digital aspect of payments. It might sound weird but we're trying to take a similar pioneering role in our industry. As the only direct consumer retail product within our category, we are trying to get people to care about these categories which could have a massive impact on the environment.”
Cultural Heritage, Diu Chau, Palmania JSC, An Giang
Palmania JSC was founded in 2017 with the aim of reviving the traditional craft of palmyra nectar production of the indigenous Khmer people. Palmania is a combination of Palmyra (the tree) and Mania ("passion"). It is a company steeped in the cultural heritage of An Giang, with the ultimate aim of enriching its minorities.
Palmania has won the Great Taste Awards for two years in a row (2020-2021). Its mission is not only to elevate a local product to an international level, but also to create more jobs so that young locals need not leave their homes to seek employment in busy cities.
“The She's Next Grant Program by Visa Vietnam and IFundWomen could support my start-up and help motivate more women. With this grant, I could expand the business, partnering with more farmers and creating more jobs for the people in my hometown.”
Tubudd is a platform connecting travelers with local experts (buddies) to supercharge their holidays and business trips. The startup spends 40% of its resources on creating transparent and safe connections for international business travelers coming to Vietnam, and Vietnamese business buddies with excellent language skills. The remaining resources are devoted to tourism-related activities.
Tubudd currently has 1,000 buddies in 12 countries, ready to support domestic and international adventure-seekers and travellers looking to discover local life, enjoy art, learn history/culture, local healthcare support. This specialization allows Tubudd to dive deep into skills training for local buddies to enhance the customer experience on every trip.
“I originally only spoke English. When I began learning Korean, I realised that language carries a great deal of culture and by speaking the same language as our visitors, it is easier to understand what makes them tick and how to showcase our culture to the best effect.”
The Practical Business Skills program by Visa offers free educational resources and interactive tools to help business owners start, manage and grow their small businesses. The program is focused on helping growth-minded entrepreneurs with fewer than ten employees thrive via a variety of resources available in both English and Spanish.