The Future is Female

20 stories of Vietnam’s Twin Transition


Vu Thi Thai An 

Co-founder and CEO of Tubudd  

Growing up in Hong Kong, Annie Vu recognized the need for deep cultural connections at an early age. The importance of intercultural exchange between locals and travelers became clear to her when she studied in London. There she experienced for herself what it feels like to move the center of your life to a previously unknown place, learn a new language and make new friends. She realized for herself what many travellers report: An authentic experience with the country and its people is better experienced away from tourist traps. Her business idea is based on this: the travel app Tubudd as a link between international travelers and locals bridges the language barrier and makes intercultural exchange and – with a bit of luck – even genuine heart-to-heart connections possible. However, Annie’s own journey as a founder was not always easy. Starting with £1 donations and building the company during the coronavirus pandemic, she overcame all difficulties to obtain start-up funding. Now Tubudd is on the market, grown from Annie Vu’s own needs as a traveler: An app that connects.

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Dinh Nguyen Thien An

Career Services Specialist, Vietnamese – German University

Dinh Nguyen Thien An, an outstanding Biotechnology student, underwent a major career shift when she discovered her true passion in human development. Progressing from laboratory research to different roles, An is now a career service specialist at the Vietnamese-German University. These seemingly sudden turns, however, converge to shape An’s role in community services. Motivated by her own career twists and turns, An strives to instil a Community Engaged Learning spirit in her students. She empowers them not only to be confident with their acquired knowledge, but also to make meaningful contributions to others. Through initiatives like Digi Me project, she coordinated hundreds of students to support social organisations in Ho Chi Minh City and neighbouring provinces. Bridging the gap between theory and practice, An enables students to gain confidence, develop their expertise while effectively serving the community and society.

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Tran Kieu Anh

Co-Founder – CEO of Sustainable Fashion Brand Dong Dong

UX designer and eco-entrepreneur Tran Kieu Anh has transformed discarded plastic tarpaulins into a sustainable fashion statement. Her brand Dong Dong repurposes these materials into unique, durable products, demonstrating the potential of circular fashion. Despite the challenges posed by material constraints and societal expectations, Kieu Anh’s tenacity has ensured Dong Dong’s steady growth  and support from major brands. She emphasises that success is not only about having an idea, but also the perseverance to realise it, even in the face of adversity. As a young mother, she values work-life balance and hopes to see her daughter grow alongside her business.

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Nguyen Thi Ngoc Dung

Expert in Research and Development of Entrepreneurship Innovation Ecosystem, National Innovation Centre

When the word “Policy” is mentioned, what is your immediate reaction? Do you envision a daunting pile of jargonistic documents that leave you confused, not sure where to even begin and what actions to take? Developing policies is challenging, but quickly adopting these policies into daily life to resolve practical problems is an even greater challenge. This has been an exciting journey in Ms. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Dung’s 30-year policy research career. Raised and educated in a family of Confucian traditions, she inherited from her father an innate sense of curiosity, a desire for discovery, and a knack for sharp and witty critical thinking.

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Pham Le Giang

Ceo of Norstar Solutions

Pham Le Giang is leading a revolution in Vietnam’s aquaculture industry. Inspired by her parents’ work in forestry and driven by the plight of local farmers, Giang introduced a land-based aquaculture model that uses cutting-edge technologies: harnessing the power of AI and robotics. Despite initial scepticism, her determination won over experts, leading to the training and technology transfer for the first 100 fish farms in Vietnam. Giang’s journey from charity work to leading a salmon farming project is known for her willingness to take risks and shows her commitment to her home country.

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Phung Thi Thu Ha

Founder of Circular Fashion Stores Urban Circular Space Project Coordinator – United Nations Development Programme

Forget fast fashion – Phung Thi Thu Ha is weaving a greener tale. Witnessing the environmental toll of unworn clothes, she built Urban Circular Space: a haven for swapping, reviving, and loving clothing back to life.Think of a fashion industry thirsting for 2,700 liters of water for just one shirt. Now imagine that shirt languishing in your closet – a monument to waste. It’s this jarring reality Ha tackles, offering a platform where pre-loved garments find new hearts to wear. Inspired by global pioneers, Ha crafts a “circular” future, where clothes dance between swap shelves, repair ateliers, and even reborn creations. From Singapore’s thrift shops to Australia’s rental havens, these models prove sustainable chic is no fad.And it’s catching on. Major brands like H&M and Nike are pledging to a “Circular Fashion System,” embracing a future where style doesn’t cost the Earth.Urban Circular Space, Ha’s two-store oasis, whispers this promise on Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City streets. Each garment tells a story of resourcefulness, of giving, of fashion with a conscience.So, next time you gaze at your wardrobe, remember – a “sustainable” revolution can bloom right there, one repurposed shirt at a time.

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Nguyen Thi Thuy Hang

Deputy Director General, Public Procurement Agency, Ministry of Planning and Investment

Nguyen Thi Thuy Hang wasn’t always a trailblazer. As young graduate, she dreamt of import-export, not rewriting trade deals. But fate (and a talented team) had other plans. Thrust into Vietnam’s nascent public procurement scene, Hang blossomed. By 25, she was drafting the nation’s first Bidding Law, paving the way for a career marked by groundbreaking negotiations and visionary projects. Her crowning achievement? Spearheading Vietnam’s entry into the prestigious CPTPP trade bloc. But Hang’s impact went beyond pacts and papers. The National Bidding Network System, her brainchild, streamlined bureaucracy, slashing costs for businesses and fostering a transparent, fair platform. Today, she’s a negotiation titan, respected around the table, and her legacy whispers – service is the strongest currency. As she says, “Put your heart and soul into it, and the rest is destiny.” In a world of barriers, Nguyen Thi Thuy Hang built bridges. 

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Le Kim Hue

Deputy General Secretary – Vietnam Digital Communications Association (VDCA)

Le Kim Hue, a pioneering leader at the Vietnam Digital Communications Association (VDCA), has been instrumental in Vietnam’s digital transformation journey from 2017 to 2022. Leading a team of tenacious women, Hue has helped businesses navigate the complexities of digital transformation. Inspired by the film ‘Hidden Figures’, Hue takes a comprehensive approach to digital transformation, viewing it not just as a technological race, but a shift in organisational awareness. Her strategic influence has impacted all industries, helping small and large businesses. Hue’s personal journey – from family life to pursuing her Ph.D. studies in Switzerland – reflects her determination.

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Ly Thi Thuy Huong

Green Building and Energy Efficiency Expert at Vilandco

The interior architect Ly Thi Thuy Huong decided to make a bold career shift to energy efficiency consulting in 2010 as she foresaw the future trend of Green Building. Despite initial doubts from colleagues and mentors, her dedication and success in the field have earned their respect. Huong, who had to learn electromechanics from scratch, now excels in her role as an Energy Audit for the construction sector. She believes that early implementation of green building consulting can maximise cost efficiency and operational efficiency. Although the number of green buildings in Vietnam is modest, Huong remains enthusiastic about promoting this sustainable trend. 

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Le Kim

Founder and Ceo of CL2B (Closed Loop To Balance)

Le Kim, the CEO of CL2B (Closed Loop to Balance), channels Thomas Edison’s spirit:  “I haven’t failed, just discovered 10,000 ways that won’t work”.  In the throes of a global push for a circular economy, CL2B is a trailblazer, shaking up industries like packaging and textiles. Teaming up with giants like H&M and IKEA, CL2B is revolutionizing fabric waste management and developing cutting-edge sustainable package design, building strategies to transition towards zero waste. Despite being a fledgling in the industry, CL2B is already a Southeast Asian sensation.  Kim’s journey, from questioning education to studying at Oxford, fuels her passion for lifelong learning. Influenced by her father’s principles, Kim champions kindness, altruism, and resilience. She guides clients on an exhilarating journey toward a circular economy, urging bold experimentation and fostering a culture of kindness for a sustainable future. 

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Duong Thi Kim Lien

Doctor of Business Administration and Director of Institute of Business Innovation Accelerator

Duong Thi Kim Lien has dedicated her life to supporting women’s entrepreneurship in Vietnam. Inspired by her parents’ work in forestry and the hardships faced by rural women, she now coordinates a nationwide project, “Catalysing Women’s Entrepreneurship: Creating a Gender-Responsive Entrepreneurial Ecosystem”. Although she dropped out of university, Lien’s entrepreneurial spirit made her a successful businesswoman and later a pioneer in administrative reforms. She completed her Ph.D. with a research thesis on innovation in small enterprises and became a leading voice in the field. Today, she is developing an e-commerce training system for women, transforming lives through education. 

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Tran Thi Hong Minh

President of the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM)

Dr Tran Thi Hong Minh, the first female President of the Central Institute of Economic Management (CIEM), envisions the Twin Transition – digital and green transformations – as a journey to restore faith among humans and between humanity and nature. She defines this as “social capital”, emphasising solidarity and connection between people. Leading the well-established CIEM into uncharted economic territories, she proves to be a pioneer in leveraging unconventional resources, digital platforms, and circular business activity. As a staunch advocate for green transformation, she has diligently motivated businesses and employees to transition into circular and creative economy models. The philosophy of faith is also reflected in the way she cultivated her organisation and her own family, becoming the heritage lesson that she passed on to her children and the “DNA of Faith” that binds her organisation together for greater purposes.

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Dinh Thuy Phuong

Co-Founder of Mana.St – Reed-Based Bio Circular Green Ecosystem

A turning point in Dinh Thuy Phuong’s life occurred when she attended a graduation ceremony at a rehabilitation centre. Witnessing families reunited as their fathers and husbands freed from drug dependence, Phuong was inspired to make a meaningful contribution.  Phuong founded to offer free vocational training and cultural enrichment for recovering addicts: they’re integrated into a production chain making ecofriendly products from reeds – an overlooked agricultural resource. transforms every part of the plant into diverse products: tea from the roots; straws from the stems; jelly, yogurt, and pho noodles from the leaves; and even bioenergy pellets from unused waste. Such innovative use of reeds earned the title “Outstanding Best Community Project of the Year” at the International Excellence Awards 2022. The project gained recognition from UNDP – Vietnam Circular Economy as a leading model for circular economy in Vietnam. 

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Nguyen Kieu Lan Phuong 

PhD., Lecturer at Nguyen Tat Thanh University
Circular Economy Expert, Institute for Circular Economy Development, HCMC National University 

After completing her Ph.D. in environmental management in Taiwan, Nguyen Kieu Lan Phuong returned to Vietnam in 2021 to contribute to the field of circular economy research and successfully completed her thesis on Open Government Data. In addition to her academic pursuits, Phuong is also a goodchess player, a talent that has enhanced her ability to anticipate and plan for unexpected circumstances. She believes in the power of critical thinking and wants to inspire future generations with her passion for sustainable living.  

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Nguyen Thi Le Quyen 

Principal Official, Information Support & Digital Transformation Division, Agency for Enterprise Development 

Nguyen Thi Le Quyen, a powerhouse at the Agency for Enterprise Development, drives the national programme “Supporting Enterprises’ Digital Transformation 2021-2025.” Beyond its inception, she actively coordinates partners and leads the Digital Transformation Office to bring this game-changer to life. Growing up in a traditional craft village, she intimately understands the challenges small traders face, igniting her commitment. Given that over 97 per cent of Vietnamese businesses are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), Quyen embraces the challenge, crafting a tailored programme fuelled by continuous innovation. No one-size-fits-all here – she’s embracing readjustment for an increasingly effective enterprise community initiative.

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Assoc. Prof. Truong Thi Nam Thang 

Founder and Director – Center for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, National Economics University  

Dr Truong Thi Nam Thang, Founder and Director of the Center for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the National Economics University, stands out for her extensive experience as a business manager, researcher and senior lecturer in Vietnam. Raised in a “migrant” family, she champions independence and determination, evident in her pioneering research, teaching and practice on “Business Ethics” and “Social Impact Businesses.” Dr. Thang’s impactful role in supporting Kym Viet Social Enterprise during challenging times showcases her ability to apply organisational management theories practically. Despite her advisory roles in social impact businesses and international organisations, she still proudly claims: “My main profession is teaching!” Dr. Thang has significantly contributed to a nationwide ecosystem of Social Enterprises lecturers, and her commitment to research is exemplified through annual reports and collaboration with UNDP, promoting the concept of social impact business. 

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Nguyen Phuoc Xuan Thanh  

Founder of Project Mericulum – Data platform for plastic 

The echoing call of scrap-collecting ladies in Vietnam’s alleys is a childhood memory that Nguyen Phuoc Xuan Thanh holds dear. Co-founding Mericulum together with two other visionary female partners, Thanh revived plastic recycling – with Blockchain. Transforming plastic into a digital ‘currency’, Mericulum pioneers a community-driven approach to recycling in our plastic-saturated world. Thanh’s journey, fuelled by a love for computer science, led her to overcome a decade-long hesitation to pursue a career in technology and establish Mericulum in August 2022, named after Marie Curie. The platform strives for common benefits and community efficiency, addressing the global challenge of plastic waste management. Thanh’s story echoes resilience, emphasising the importance of courage in overcoming career challenges. Mericulum beckons us to a transformative journey, turning plastic into an intriguing challenge for a sustainable future.

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Nguyen Thi Thu Thao  

Vietnam Country Manager of Earth Venture Capital 

“Business is not purely about transactions. To me, business is a space to nurture people, bringing values to both the customers and society.”  This guiding philosophy has been the compass for Nguyen Thi Thu Thao throughout her professional career as the Vietnam Regional Manager of Earth Venture Capital. Committed to the fund’s mission of supporting startups in the green global economy, Thao has discovered the role of venture capital: beyond financial mobilisation, venture capital can foster groundbreaking innovations and create value for society. Recognising the potential for major systemic changes when the fund’s mission aligns with sustainable development, Thao embarked on a journey to Sweden in August 2023. There, she pursues studies in “Strategic Leadership in Sustainable Development”, aiming to realise her dream of making Vietnam a happy home for its people. 

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Tran Ha Uyen Thi 

Expert and Lecturer at University of Economics, Hue University.  

The ancient city of Hue is awakening to the wave of the Twin Transition, and Tran Ha Uyen Thi is leading the charge. A senior lecturer at Hue University, Thi is helping local businesses, especially women-owned ones, embrace e-commerce and thrive in the digital age. Many local businesses lack the capital, human resources, and skills to navigate platforms like Shopee, Lazada, and Tiktok Shop. Thi’s solution? A training program for students and direct support to businesses. Thi’s journey with e-commerce began after she earned her PhD in Supply Chain and Logistics in Australia. She returned to Hue to continue her mission of empowering students and businesses. With Thi’s guidance, Hue is on its way to becoming an e-commerce hub. Her story is one of resilience, determination, and a deep love for her hometown. 

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Nguyen Thi Thuy Trang 

Environmental Engineer, Water Solutions Southeast Asia Co. Ltd. & 

Born in 1995, Nguyen Thi Thuy Trang is the youngest female engineer in a team of seven experts at Water Solutions Southeast Asia. Collaboratively, they undertake innovative projects that integrate people, nature, and technology into effective nature-based solutions to environmental challenges. Their endeavours span across Vietnam, encompassing carbon reabsorption, aquatic environment purification, and regeneration of resources such as clean water and biochar.  Trang’s journey in Environmental Engineering unfolds in the remotest corners of Vietnam, creating positive waves in communities. Her business card proudly bears the title “Engineer,” a testament to her impactful role. A crowning achievement for Trang is the Chenh Venh forest, a carbon-absorption marvel managed by the Bru-Van Kieu ethnic group. This project exemplifies Trang and her team’s commitment to a nature-based approach and their dedication to empowering local communities.

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For more information, check out the Digital Transformation Center Vietnam.