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In the heartland of Binh Phuoc Province, known for its lush soil and centuries-old cashew growing tradition, Ms. Nguyen Thi Thanh Hoa founded EUBIZ to improve the livelihoods of local farmers. Binh Phuoc’s cashew nuts were not generating much income for the hard-working farmers due to low prices, crop failings, and lack of processing capacity, so the nuts were shipped raw. 

Seeing the hardships of the cashew farmers here, I wanted to learn how to help them and increase the value of cashew nuts in Binh Phuoc. So in 2019, I founded EUBIZ with the goal of increasing the value of cashew nut exports to the international markets. We actively cooperated with local farmers, purchased the cashew nuts directly, and built processing facilities which enabled easier export of cashew nuts,” Ms. Nguyen Thi Thanh Hoa, Founder of EUBIZ shared.

In 2021, Ms. Hoa and EUBIZ decided to target the world’s second largest international market, Europe. Successful expansion into this market would greatly benefit the cashew nut farmers across the Binh Phuoc Province.

However, we lacked information about the market and EU regulations such as tax, customs, product quality, packaging, labelling, and factory standards. Luckily, I had received an in-depth support from an Asian Development Bank’s (ADB’s) business accelerator program funded by Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) since April 2022. The program was a combination of training, one-on-one consulting, accelerating, networking and sales implemented by Women’s Initiatives for Startup and Entrepreneurship (WISE),” Ms. Hoa said.

The business accelerator program connected EUBIZ with both international business partners in the Netherlands, as well as domestic partners which enabled the expansion of product lines and production areas in Viet Nam’s Lao Cai and Son La provinces as well.

Ms. Hoa continued “...In October 2022, we participated in Europe’s largest food fair – SIAL Paris. The training program helped me gain more confidence and knowledge when connecting with customers. After that, I also attended trade connectivity conferences in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and the Czech Republic. During the trips, the partners wanted EUBIZ to carry out trial orders to test the market. After these meetings, some major companies actively contacted us to enquire about our cinnamon and cashew products.”

With timely support from ADB’s program, EUBIZ now exports its products to five European countries, resulting in increased revenue from the EU market. EUBIZ’s European margins increased by 5% in 2022, and another 8% in 2023. This success has enabled EUBIZ to provide stable income to cashew nut farmers in the Binh Phuoc area whilst also promoting sustainable farming techniques.

“We are applying farming techniques that increase the quality of products and ensure higher economic returns while reducing the environmental impact. Currently, EUBIZ is working with 130 ethnic minority households in Binh Phuoc province and we expect to create more jobs when we open a new cinnamon processing factory in Lao Cai province in 2024,” Ms. Hoa explained.

EUBIZ plans to create jobs for more than 1000 households in 2024, with commitments to hiring 70%  local women and 30% from the Red Dao minority group in Lao Cai province. Thanks to the We-Fi and ADB’s support, EUBIZ, together with four other Vietnamese agricultural processing companies, became a member of the International Trade Center’s Climate Smart Network, which helps small businesses gain visibility from buyers actively looking for climate smart suppliers.

“Since participating in the program, EUBIZ has gained the knowledge and determination to assist farmers in conducting organic farming according to international standards and to develop a circular economy. Successfully redirecting farmers in the material growing area towards organic farming would be a motivation for us to expand and work with farmers in other areas to improve their income and livelihoods,” Ms. Hoa concluded.