In Vietnam’s story of progress, a noteworthy trend is emerging — accomplished Vietnamese folks are making their way back. These aren’t just stories; they’re nuanced journeys of resilience, innovation, and a deep-rooted connection to home.
Take, Marina Tran-Vu, the visionary force behind EQUO. As Founder and CEO, Marina has pioneered 100% plastic-free and compostable alternatives, elevating her into a global sustainability icon. Her startup success story serves as a beacon for aspiring entrepreneurs. If you harbor dreams of launching your own startup, Marina’s journey is one to follow—a testament to resilience, innovation, and the transformative impact of sustainable practices.
Shifting gears, let’s explore the world of Calvin Bui, who made Saigon’s food and beverage industry his canvas. Arriving in Vietnam in 2009, Calvin brought a fresh perspective, eager to blend his atypical take on food with the city’s appetite for what’s hip and new. Becoming a Vietnamese street food guru, he turned the spotlight on local restaurants in hidden corners, contributing to the vibrant culinary scene.
Then there’s Chef Peter Cuong Franklin, an award-winning Vietnamese-American culinary maestro who needs no introduction. Originally from Da Lat and raised in America, Chef Peter transitioned from a career in investment banking to pursue his passion for culinary arts. Renowned as the owner of Saigon’s first and only Michelin-starred restaurant, Anan Saigon, his gastronomic creations have left an indelible mark on the city’s culinary landscape.
Shifting the spotlight to the music industry, enter Levi Oi, the Vietnamese-German DJ whose journey took a transformative turn. Moving back to Vietnam from Berlin in 2018, Levi Oi’s story is a testament to creating one’s opportunities. Overcoming skepticism, she followed her instincts and carved a unique path in the vibrant world of music, proving that Vietnam’s beat can resonate globally.
Let’s not forget Hao Tran, a savvy entrepreneur who’s been making waves on the media and startup scene. Co-founding Vietcetera and spearheading game-changing initiatives like the Overseas Vietnamese Summit: Homecoming, Hao’s journey is a testament to the pull of Vietnam.
And there’s more where that came from. While we can’t capture the entire picture, here’s a quick roundup of the background and journeys of others like Marina, Calvin, Chef Peter, Levi, and Hao. Each one, although just a piece of their lives, holds the promise of changing Vietnam for the better.
These aren’t just stories; they’re genuine chapters in the journey of Overseas Vietnamese who chose to return. As we explore their experiences, we’re not just celebrating their wins; we’re feeling the rhythm of how these individuals are enriching Vietnam as a home.
Luke Nguyen is a name you probably know well — he’s a Vietnamese-Australian celebrity chef who owns restaurants in Sydney, Hong Kong, and Brisbane. His love for Vietnam led to iconic shows like “Luke Nguyen’s Railway Vietnam” on Netflix, showcasing the country’s diverse regional food. Beyond the kitchen, Luke is on a mission to reduce global food wastage.
My Holland, an expert in positive psychology and neuroleadership, brought her knowledge to Vietnam with EQuest Asia. Passionate about confidence through self-awareness, she specializes in leadership training, executive coaching, and fostering happiness at work.
Hoang Thi Kim Dzung
Hoang Thi Kim Dzung is an Associate at Genesia Ventures. Since establishing their first office in Vietnam, Dzung has passionately invested in early-stage startups, bringing discipline and commitment to the Vietnamese startup scene. Fluent in Vietnamese, Japanese, and English, she actively shares her startup-related insights and experiences. She is also an active contributor to Vietcetera, sharing lessons and tips for startup founders.
A Harvard Business School dropout turned startup builder, Robert Huynh has an impressive track record at Alphabet (Google / X) and Microsoft. Embracing a mindset of "Aim for 10x, not 10%," he’s a force in gaming, self-driving cars, and advanced cybersecurity.
Bicky Nguyen, co-founder of Cricket One, is on a mission to create a sustainable supply chain for food. Leading globally in cricket-based ingredients, she aims to make cricket a staple in daily diets to combat climate change.
After a diverse journey from Vietnam to Japan and Dubai, Tuan Le found his niche in the creative industry upon returning home. As one of the visionaries behind Vietcetera, Tuan’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to launch various ventures, including a co-working space, cafe and bar, and, of course, his creative company, The Lab. He is also the creative director behind Bakes, a French boulangerie-pâtisserie.
Huong Tran, a Venture Partner at Monk’s Hill Ventures, leverages over 15 years of experience in Silicon Valley and Southeast Asia. Responsible for sourcing, analyzing, and executing deals, she collaborates closely with portfolio companies at the forefront of early-stage tech investments in Southeast Asia. Huong, who spent more than a decade in Silicon Valley before returning to Vietnam, holds an MBA from Stanford University. Notably, she was the first student from Vietnam to attend the business school post the war’s conclusion in 1975, marking a significant milestone in her distinguished career.
Born in France to Vietnamese parents, Khanh-Linh Le’s sweet dreams come true with The Cocoa Project, an initiative making chocolate a daily delight for all. Her creations, inspired by Vietnam’s cocoa flavors, aim to foster a universal love for chocolate deeply rooted in Vietnamese culture.
Khanh P Ngo
With over 11 years in the tech and consulting industry, Khanh P Ngo now spearheads special projects for TikTok’s APAC and MEA regions. Armed with an MBA from Northwestern Kellogg, he leverages data-driven insights to drive growth for one of the world’s most popular social media platforms.
Trang Dang is the brains behind Ru9, a company changing the game in how people perceive and prioritize sleep. With a background in advertising, she’s using research, innovation, and thoughtful design to create an affordable and top-notch sleep experience.
Popularly known as Culinary Frank, Frank Pham is a chef turned food vlogger with over 400,000 subscribers on YouTube. Starting his culinary journey at At-Sunrice GlobalChef Academy, Frank has lived and worked in various countries, including Australia. Now based in Saigon, he owns Society Saigon and shares his culinary adventures on his channel.
Tran Vu Ha Minh
Tran Vu Ha Minh, an expert in real estate, urban development, and AI ethics, wears many hats. As a dictionary editor and policy analyst, she delved into AI’s legal and ethical aspects and founded HaMinh Initiatives, focusing on legal-ethical knowledge and Japanese law dissemination.