Mushrooms startup helps 28-year-old earn tens of millions a month

March 01, 2023 - 08:07
Trần Mai Ril courageously left her job and embarked on a bold venture to launch her own mushroom farming start-up.
Trần Mai Ril in her mushroom farm. — Photo

CÀ MAU — Amid the havoc wrought by the pandemic on the tourism industry, Trần Mai Ril, a 28-year-old woman with a promising career in HCM City's tourism sector, decided to chart a new course.

The 28-year-old courageously left her job and embarked on a bold venture to launch her own mushroom farming start-up.

Through her innovation, Ril managed to carve out a new career path for herself and provide a source of income for numerous others.

Every day at 4pm, Ril and her parents go to the farm to collect the mushrooms. Although the weather is hot, they are still happy to collect their hard-earned labour.

Ril currently owns six mushroom farms with a total area of 200 sq.m, which produce mushrooms for many localities nationwide. The farms' monthly earnings are about VNĐ60-70 million (US$2,500-2,900).

Ril, her parents and a few others are the main farmhands, tending a range of mushrooms, including pink oyster, golden oyster, ganoderma lucidum, and more.

However, by far the most popular is the hiratake mushrooms, which have a harvesting period of 15 days.

"Growing mushrooms is not akin to growing an animal," said Ril. "We must calculate precisely the period for harvesting."

According to Ril, although the business seems simple at times, being successful at it requires dedication and research into the mushrooms themselves.

"The key to being a successful entrepreneur lies in loving your job," said Ril. "I am happy seeing the mushrooms grow despite the hardships."

The 28-year-old woman had a dream job in tourism in HCMC, but when the pandemic hit, the tourism industry nosedived, and Ril sought another way.

Ril had grown mushrooms in her college years as an avid mushroom grower in her dorm, and during COVID lockdown, she grew them as food.

"I thought to myself, I cannot wait for the pandemic to be over," said Ril. "Looking at the mushrooms I grew and the fact that no one had a mushroom business in my hometown, I decided to give it a try."

Ril's decision to leave HCMC and quit her job was met with criticism and doubt from her loved ones. However, the resilient woman decided to buy 200 hiratake mushroom embryos and grow them behind her house.

At first, potential customers were reluctant to buy hiratake mushrooms as they were not common, so Ril gave away some of the first ones away for free.

With the business developing steadily, Ril asked for funding from her family, the Women's Union, and the local Vietnam Bank for Social Policies Social Policies Bank. She used the investments to build a farm that holds 3,000 embryos.

Utilising e-commerce, Ril also sells mushroom embryos to improve turnover capital. She also participated in marketing courses.

"As customers' trust grew, so did the orders," Ril shared. "Whenever the demand for mushrooms came, I directly delivered them. We have been very active in searching and keeping customers."

"I remember when I started the business, I delivered the mushrooms on my own, and sometimes I forgot to rest or have a meal," Ril said. "In Cà Mau's monsoon season, the floods made it difficult, but I still tried to deliver the products on time."

According to Ril, as the family's finances were unstable, her mother had to leave Cà Mau for a job in Đồng Nai to make ends meet. Although the road ahead is full of challenges, Ril is very happy that the mushroom farm is booming and her family is reunited without worries about income. — VNS