“My Vietnamese name is Hoai Tien, which implies my parents’ hope that my life would be filled with optimism and I could always go forward no matter what”, said Daniel Nguyen, a young man with American nationality.
After returning to Vietnam for the first time in 2008, Daniel Nguyen wanted to do more for Vietnam. The 20-year-old man trekked hundreds of kilometers across the highlands of the Northwest to find a way to help ethnic minorities have a sustainable life.
“Learning about the beliefs, lifestyle, and culture of ethnic minorities here has helped me realize that agriculture is ethnic minority people’s backbone. Therefore, I created new corn and cereal varieties from the original plants to ensure a sustainable output for the people. I want to build a brand with a story on it to introduce the products to the wider world. Song Cai Gin wine is such a brand,” Daniel Nguyen said.
|Daniel Nguyen, founder of the Song Cai Distillery Company
Vietnamese gin made from corn is available globally in several regions, including Singapore and Hong Kong (China), Australia, New Zealand, and the US. It is produced by the Song Cai Distillery Company, founded by Daniel Nguyen. This wine, made only with natural ingredients from Vietnam, won an international beverage silver award and was named one of the top 16 wines in the world in 2021 by Bloomberg.
“I named the product Song Cai, which means Mother River. I realized that no matter where Vietnamese people are living, they respect mother nature very much. Through this brand, I want to improve the life of a community, but also tell a story of the Vietnamese people to the world,” Daniel Nguyen added.
The American and Vietnamese business communities are now familiar with the name Thao Griffiths, a Vietnamese living in Singapore. Thao Griffiths, who spent a considerable amount of time in Vietnam working for the American Veterans Association, shares Daniel Nguyen’s desire to imprint the name “Vietnam” on the world map.
|Thao Griffiths who creates the foundation for the US’s post-war humanitarian efforts in Vietnam (Photo: Vietbao.vn)
Thao was the one who created the foundation for the US’s post-war humanitarian efforts in Vietnam, including mine clearing and dealing with the issue of Agent Orange/Dioxin victims. She is working to connect the triangle of Singapore – Vietnam – US in the area of digital transformation in her current role as Regional Director of Meta Technology Group of the US.
“My responsibility is to connect Singapore and the US, two centers of digital transformation, with Vietnam in terms of innovation. We are collaborating with the Ministry of Planning and Investment, especially the National Innovation Center, to launch a Vietnam Innovation Challenge Program. This program, which is co-organized between Meta Company and the National Digital Transformation Center, was started in 2022 to call for creative solutions to address social or policy problems in Vietnam.”
Amid the rapid digital transformation in the world, attracting investment from technology companies in developed countries will create momentum for Vietnam’s digital economy.
“We should find a way to better connect with international tech companies to bring digital technology to Vietnam, or to be headquartered in Vietnam. This will improve Vietnam’s position internationally.”
The journey of young people like Daniel Nguyen and Thao Griffiths are inspirational stories of how overseas Vietnamese people contribute to Vietnam’s development and prosperity.