Saturday, July 22 2017

VietNamNews

Three friends make things happen in their village

Update: June, 17/2017 - 09:00
Making bún at Vạn Linh factory. VNS Photo
Viet Nam News

Three friends who were expected to go out into the big world have decided instead to go back to the village they once came from.

There, they have started a business making traditional rice vermicelli.

Their business has done well because many people are not happy about other rice vermicelli that is on sale because it is not made the traditional way.

Despite graduating from university and landing big-city jobs, three young men who had been lifelong friends wanted something more than just a big income, expensive clothes and other material signs of success.

Their parents, however, had always wanted their sons to have high paying jobs so they could have a better life.

But the three men were determined to follow their dream to start their own business and live independently.

Much to the chagrin and shock of their families and neighbours, Nguyễn Đăng Tôn Cảnh, Nguyễn Phước Ánh and Nguyễn Hữu Vinh, all born in the 90s, decided to quit their jobs and return to their hometown in Triệu Phong District in the central province of Quảng Trị. 

Cảnh had studied economics at Huế University and Ánh the same subject at Đà Nẵng College, while Vinh had graduated from HCM City Transportation University.

The knowledge they had obtained at school and in the workplace, however, would later serve them well.

“We’ve been buddies since we were kids. Growing up, we all had the idea of returning to our village and starting a business, but we weren’t confident doing it apart,” Cảnh recalled recently.

But, one day, during a meeting away from their jobs in big cities, they realised their dream was still very much alive.

“Oh my god! We recognised that we were still dreaming of returning to the countryside to help it develop,” Cảnh said. 

But they weren’t sure about which career to pursue.

Cảnh, however, was confident the three of them would find their way.

“Every career has potential and if you care about it enough, it can develop in a stable way,” he said.  

So they returned to their hometown, Linh Chiểu Village, well-known for its tradition of making bún (rice vermicelli).

“Making bún was the traditional career of not only our families but also the entire village,” he said. “We spent our childhood around this, so now we want to contribute to the village’s development doing the same with a better product.”

Initial steps

Within a year of agreeing to pursue their goal, the trio produced their first batch of “clean” vermicelli.

During that first year, they had faced many questions. How can we make our products different from the rest? What are our strengths and weaknesses? And, importantly, where are we going to get the money?

They realised they had a competitive advantage over others: their grandparents, parents and relatives had a rich background in making traditional rice vermicelli.

But, most of all, the three young men were full of energy.

After saving a total of nearly VNĐ100 million (US$4,000) from their jobs, they decided to make preservative-free vermicelli which meets hygiene and food safety standards.

Vinh said that many consumers had boycotted traditional vermicelli in the market because of low quality and a high level of preservatives.

Even vermicelli made by Linh Chiểu Village had been affected by the trend, with villagers sometimes throwing away their product due to decreased demand.

Their first branded products hit the market in May last year, packaged under the trademark Vạn Linh Vermicelli.

It had not been easy.

“I still remember the first days after we launched our product in the market,” Cảnh said.

“We could sell only 50 kilos per day, but we had made 100 kilos. So, we had to eat vermicelli the whole day!”

To increase sales, the three men advertised their new product in the region and continued to improve the quality with the aim of receiving certification from the local health authority.

Their university studies came in handy on several occasions. With the IT skills they had learned at school, they set up a website to advertise their products.

After that, sales of vermicelli increased day by day, including purchases by big restaurants in Đông Hà City and Lao Bảo Town.

Although the price is higher than similar products, Vạn Linh Vermicelli is now the choice of many consumers.  

About 500 kilos of fresh rice vermicelli are sold each day in the province.

The three men now want to expand production and sales to other cities and are trying out new products like dry vermicelli.

Asked if they would like to receive money from investors, Cảnh said they wanted to first build a solid foundation since their business was still small-scale.

For Vinh, quitting his job in big cities and returning to his hometown was a decision that he never doubted.

“We’ll never regret what we decided," he said. "To us, our success today is thanks to the courage we had to pursue our dream of creating a vermicelli trademark for our village.” VNS


 

GLOSSARY

But the three men were determined to follow their dream to start their own business and live independently.

To live independently means to be on your own and to live off your own money rather than needing someone else to help you.

Much to the chagrin and shock of their families and neighbours, Nguyễn Đăng Tôn Cảnh, Nguyễn Phước Ánh and Nguyễn Hữu Vinh, all born in the 90s, decided to quit their jobs and return to their hometown in Triệu Phong District in the central province of Quảng Trị. 

Chagrin is the feeling of being upset because you have failed at something.

The knowledge they had obtained at school and in the workplace, however, would later serve them well.

Obtained means got.

But they weren’t sure about which career to pursue.

To pursue a career means to follow a career.

Cảnh, however, was confident the three of them would find their way.

Confident means believing that things will work out well.

“Every career has potential and if you care about it enough, it can develop in a stable way,” he said.  

Potential means possibility.

“Making bún was the traditional career of not only our families but also the entire village,” he said. “We spent our childhood around this, so now we want to contribute to the village’s development doing the same with a better product.”

To contribute means to give in order to help with something.

Within a year of agreeing to pursue their goal, the trio produced their first batch of “clean” vermicelli.

A trio is a group of three.

They realised they had a competitive advantage over others: their grandparents, parents and relatives had a rich background in making traditional rice vermicelli.

If they had a competitive advantage certain things would make it easier for them to do business against competitors.

After saving a total of nearly VNĐ100 million (US$4,000) from their jobs, they decided to make preservative-free vermicelli which meets hygiene and food safety standards.

Preservatives are chemicals put into foods to make them last longer. Foods that are preservative-free have no such chemicals in them.

Vinh said that many consumers had boycotted traditional vermicelli in the market because of low quality and a high level of preservatives.

Consumers are people who buy and use things.

To boycott traditional vermicelli means to refuse to buy it as a way of saying you are not happy about it.

Even vermicelli made by Linh Chiểu Village had been affected by the trend, with villagers sometimes throwing away their product due to decreased demand.

A trend is a general direction in which things are happening. In this case it is to do with how vermicelli is being made.

Their first branded products hit the market in May last year, packaged under the trademark Vạn Linh Vermicelli.

A trademark is a symbol or a word that a company has the right to use to represent its products.

To increase sales, the three men advertised their new product in the region and continued to improve the quality with the aim of receiving certification from the local health authority.

Certification means receiving a document from someone in authority saying that a product is of good quality.

Their university studies came in handy on several occasions. With the IT skills they had learned at school, they set up a website to advertise their products.

IT stands for Information Technology.

After that, sales of vermicelli increased day by day, including purchases by big restaurants in Đông Hà City and Lao Bảo Town.

Purchases are actions of buying something.

Although the price is higher than similar products, Vạn Linh Vermicelli is now the choice of many consumers.  

A choice is something you choose when you may have many different things from which to choose.

The three men now want to expand production and sales to other cities and are trying out new products like dry vermicelli.

Expand means spread out and grow.

Asked if they would like to receive money from investors, Cảnh said they wanted to first build a solid foundation since their business was still small-scale.

Investors are people who put money into a project in the hope that it will make more money.

A foundation, in this case, is a sense of having everything in order as well as knowing how to go into the business venture they are trying and knowing the people they need to know in order to carry out business. A solid foundation is a strong foundation.

“We’ll never regret what we decided," he said.

To regret something is to wish it had never happened.

 

WORKSHEET

Find words that mean the following in the Word Search:

 

  1. A casual word that means “friends”.
  2. A word meaning a group of three.
  3. A word that is short for “kilogrammes”.
  4. A word that means “to give something up”.
  5. A type of business that bought vermicelli as sales increased day by day.

 

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© Duncan Guy/Learn the News/ Viet Nam News 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Buddies; 2. Trio; 3. Kilos; 4. Quit; 5. Restaurants.

 

 

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