When we truly think about it, the success stories of America’s immigrants and America’s entrepreneurs go hand-in-hand. Rising above daunting challenges and overcoming social, racial, and economic hardship — amongst others — are struggles that both of these groups consistently face.
Similarly, immigrants and entrepreneurs alike are able to learn vital life lessons from their experience and bestow those lessons onto others. As such, it’s little wonder why so many American immigrants go on to become successful entrepreneurs, even during times of economic or financial hardship.
Giang “Thi Thi” Hoang is one such immigrant-entrepreneur. Born in Vietnam after the Vietnam war, Thi Thi was raised as the daughter of an engineer father and a factory worker mother who had multiple small business ventures on the side.
At the time, food was scarce, and Thi Thi knew that the best way she could provide herself with the life she wanted was to get a good education. Her excellence in academia allowed her to attend a high school for gifted students and helped propel her through her studies at the University of Ho Chi Minh City where she received two degrees in Economics and Social Media Marketing.
After graduating from university, Thi Thi went on to receive a position in the research and development department of Eximbank, one of Vietnam’s leading import and export banking institutions. Within five years, she had climbed the company’s ranks to become a manager of Eximbank’s marketing and promotions department working directly for the company’s CEO.
At the time, Thi Thi was raising her young son as a single mother while also saving money that allowed her to purchase multiple rental properties. Her smart investments showed Thi Thi just how well hard work and business acumen pay off.
“I learned that to balance work and family, you must put in the hours and effort,” Thi Thi said in an interview earlier this year. “Many nights after putting [my son] to bed, I would stay up working well past midnight, but sacrificing sleep was worth it because I had a dream.”
That dream, as Thi Thi explains, was to provide a better life for her and her son by immigrating to the United States: a dream that finally came to fruition in 2015. However, Thi Thi immediately found that the banking industry in the US was extremely difficult to break into, especially as an immigrant woman of color who spoke little English.
So, in true entrepreneurial fashion, Thi Thi opted to instead start over. She earned a cosmetology license to work as a hairdresser so she could earn income for her and her son while improving her English skills.
After four years working as a cosmetologist, Thi Thi was hired at a consumer products company where she assisted in marketing and product development in 2019. Although, hardly a year later, the rampant onset of the COVID-19 virus was declared a global pandemic, sending business operations around the world scrambling to pivot their strategies overnight.
“I was able to use my connections in Vietnam to have the highest quality silver-infused face masks and gaiters imported from Vietnam to the United States,” says Thi Thi. “These are the same masks that many of the hospitals and citizens use in Vietnam where they have one of the highest success rates against airborne diseases, including COVID-19.”
In less than 10 months, Thi Thi’s products from Vietnam sold over 17 million face masks and gaiters, generating her company upwards of some $60 million in revenue.
Following the success of her face mask and gaiter sales, Thi Thi formed her own company — Bizconnect — in 2021. Now, as CEO of her very own enterprise, she set out on a mission to help small and medium-sized businesses benefit from the global economy the same way she had amidst the height of a growing pandemic.
Thi Thi resigned from her position at the consumer products company in April of 2021, and recently oversaw the official launch of Bizconnect two months later in June.
As the world’s first global search engine designed specifically for B2B organizations and communities, Bizconnect serves as a networking platform through which those organizations can make more meaningful connections with other B2B companies, manage their inventory, as well as buy and sell products or services.
According to Thi Thi, what sets Bizconnect apart from other B2B networking platforms is her and her team’s ethics-driven approach that places the security and privacy of each user first.
In creating Bizconnect, Thi Thi worked alongside ethics advisors, machine learning and AI experts, data scientists, software engineers, and developers to create a B2B platform that is truly one of a kind. They have even partnered with Dun & Bradstreet in order to, “make sure all businesses in the Bizconnect ecosystem are verified.”
“In order to be a successful executive,” said Thi Thi, “you have to be able to execute a vision and idea [to] build the best team you can.”
Indeed, Thi Thi Hoang’s entrepreneurial drive has not only allowed her to build the best team for her company, but also a truly unique product in Bizconnect. Despite the hardships she and her family have endured, Thi Thi and her company are a shining example of what it means to be a successful entrepreneur in today’s world.
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