Chu Văn Đạo in his rice milling workshop, where he has invested in modern machines. — VNA/VNS Thanh Thương
BẮC NINH — The trend of youth business start-ups in Bắc Ninh Province has grown rapidly in recent years, thanks to the support of the provincial Youth Union.
As a result, many jobs have been created and many more young people are attracted by the opportunity to start their own business.
Chu Văn Đạo, 30, in Cầu Gạo Yên Phú Commune, Yên Phong District, is one of the success stories. He borrowed capital to invest in his family’s rice processing business.
Đạo, who has a passion for technology, graduated from the Hà Nội University of Industry in 2006. At first, he borrowed VNĐ600 million (US$26,300) to buy new rice processing machines, such as milling machines, husk separators, threshing machines and a polishing machine.
Then, with confidence and acumen, he went to agents, stores and supermarkets to introduce his products to the market. His business has been growing ever since.
Customers always demand a high quality of rice, so, along with looking for high-quality rice paddies, Đạo continues to invest in more modern machinery to continuously improve the quality of his products.
Early this year he learned about the start-up fund for young people of the province and applied for a loan of VNĐ700 million (US$30,700) to buy more husk separators.
Đạo said there were many stages in the rice milling process.
First is paddy threshing; then separating husks, cleaning and polishing the rice before finally, the product goes through packaging lines.
Modern production lines have helped to considerably increase the quality of rice products, he said.
With the desire to promote the special Yên Phụ sticky rice of his homeland, Đạo bought all the rice he could from local farmers, to process and sell to rice agents throughout the country.
Talking about the purpose of the business start-up fund, Đạo said: “For young people, the biggest hurdles to starting a business are capital and experience.”
“Having access to the province’s youth start-up fund, with low-interest rates of 5 per cent per year and 5-year terms, helped me to feel secure in producing and getting rich legitimately,” Đạo said.
At present, his family’s workshop mills 20 tonnes of rice per day, generating a profit of VNĐ500 million (US$22,000) every year.
His business has created jobs for 5 employees, who are paid a monthly salary of VNĐ9 million (US$400) each.
Like Đạo, Nguyễn Công Trung, director of Thành Đạt Ltd., Company in Yên Phong District’s Yên Trung Commune, was successful in finding a new direction for his business.
Trung knew that Bắc Ninh is a developed industrial province with thousands of businesses and companies established, so the demand for office furniture was very large.
He decided to get into the market, investing in machinery and importing wood-making materials.
In 2016, he borrowed VNĐ500 million (US$22,000) from parents and friends and opened a workshop to produce office furniture.
Talking about the first days of starting up the business, Trung said: “I faced many difficulties due to a lack of capital and experience. No customers knew about my products.”
“The products were defective and contracts were cancelled. I had to deal with many things at the same time,” Trung said.
“But I always kept in my mind: ‘no pain, no gain’,” he said.
He learned from more experienced business people to improve his product quality, and took advantage of social networks such as Zalo and Facebook to market his products effectively.
Last year, he got a loan of VNĐ1 billion (US$44,000) from the province’s youth start-up fund.
He built 300 sq.m more of workshop space, and imported more raw materials for production.
“The loan was so helpful, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, which made importing new raw materials and transporting products difficult,” said Trung.
“With this money, I could import more raw materials and I am able to receive larger orders,” he said.
At present, his profits are VNĐ1 billion a year from the workshop, and he has created jobs for 12 labourers with incomes of VNĐ9 million per month.
He plans to expand his scale of production soon and enter the home furniture market.
Motivation for young people
On the youth business start-up fund in Bắc Ninh Province, Secretary of the Provincial Youth Union Nguyễn Đức Sâm said that the movement had created groundbreaking results in the socio-economic development of the region.
Start-up projects are quite diverse, in all industries and fields.
Up to now, most of the projects had been well disbursed, creating regular and stable jobs for over 400 employees, he said.
In addition, the projects also helped unite young people and develop Youth Unions in rural areas and industrial zones, Sâm said.
In the three years since the launch of the movement, 90 different start-up projects have been funded, to a total of VNĐ60 billion (US$2.6 million).
To further motivate young local people to start new businesses, the provincial Youth Union has accelerated the establishment of youth start-up clubs in many districts, in order to nurture and support business ideas.
The Youth Union has also organised training courses and provided consultants on capital lending and business branding.
Sâm added that because of the huge demand for start-up capital, the union would ask the province to increase the entrusted capital amount through the provincial Bank for Social Policies, allowing more young people to access the start-up capital. — VNS