Phạm Văn Phong (in blue T-shirt) checking his products in the workshop. — VNA/VNS Nguyễn Lành
NAM ĐỊNH — A man from Nam Định Province has taken advantage of the strengths of his homeland for economic development, creating jobs for many local workers.
Phạm Văn Phong decided to return to his hometown of Thịnh Long Township in Hải Hậu District to start up his own business in 2012 after many years working in Hà Nội in unstable and poorly paid jobs.
Hải Hậu District has an established fishing and aquaculture sector and Phong’s family has a business for jellyfish processing for export to China.
Phong’s family business is one of few establishments that processes jellyfish in Nam Định Province and indeed the entire northern region.
Seeing start-up opportunities as well as great development potential, with the support of his family, Phong built a 6,000sq.m workshop for processing instant jellyfish and established Quý Thịnh Limited Company.
As head of the enterprise, he thought about how production and business activities could be most effective to both increase revenue and create jobs.
To maintain production year-round, from February to April, the company has to purchase fresh jellyfish and preserve them in tanks of salty water.
To produce quality instant jellyfish products, all stages from selecting raw materials to processing and storing must comply with regulations on food safety, labels and traceability.
In 2013, his products started to be sold and received good feedback from customers.
From 2013 to 2015, his company sold 300-350 tonnes of instant jellyfish and gained a turnover of VNĐ10 billion (US$434,000) per year.
However, his business faced various difficulties.
Realising the high economic gains from producing instant jellyfish, many firms inside and outside the province started to enter the market and saturated it.
Refusing to step back when the family's revenues and employee's incomes decreased, in 2017, thanks to the support of the Youth Union of Nam Định Province, Phong borrowed nearly VNĐ100 million (US$4,300) from the national fund for job creation to invest in making squid and fish cakes.
“Initially, because of a lack of experience, our products were the same as thousands of those available on the market. We did not create anything different,” said Phong.
“Moreover, Nam Định people were not used to processed and frozen products, so consumption was so modest,” Phong said.
“Therefore, along with researching, perfecting the production process and improving product quality, I started marketing our products to other provinces and cities in the northern mountainous region,” he said.
His relentless efforts paid off.
The fish and squid cake products of Quý Company won favour among food suppliers and distributors in many northern provinces.
Last year was a great milestone for his company as demand for his frozen seafood products outstripped supply.
On average, the company sold more than 18 tonnes of products every month and earned nearly VNĐ14 billion (US$606,000) last year.
Currently, the company employs nearly 40 local workers, with an average salary of VNĐ5.3 million (US$230) per month per person.
Talking about starting up a business, Phong said: “In the integration period, along with technical and technological conditions, the State policies are also an important premise to help young people access opportunities to get rich in their homeland.”
With outstanding achievements in production, business, socio-economic development, last year, Phong was one of 56 rural youth to win the Luong Định Của Award which is a noble honour of the Party Central Committee Hồ Chí Minh Communist Youth Union awarded annually to rural youths with excellent achievements in production, business, scientific and technical transfer, professional development environmental protection, new rural development, and positive contribution to Youth Union activities.
He also got the merit of the Prime Minister.
“Phong is a typical youth union member. He is not only active in the union activities but also pioneered the economic development movement and job creation for local workers,” said Vũ Việt Dương, vice secretary of Hải Hậu District’s Youth Union.
“He is an inspirational role model for young generations to learn from and follow,” Dương said. — VNS