One of the fastest growing – and most ambitious – expat groups in Europe, Viet Make It was only an idea in the summer of 2020. The group posted its first article on its new website last October. Seven months later, Viet Make It has more than 500 followers on LinkedIn, growing readership on the Viet Make It website and has hosted virtual events, attracting as many as 200 registrants.
Viet Make It came together in the pandemic because expat Vietnamese professionals simply need more focus and practical support to connect the fragmented community, say the founders.
“Other communities such as Indians and Polish expats have groups for personal development, really backing up each other. That’s why the four of us came together … we said, ‘Let’s do something for the community,’ “ said co-founder Van Tran.
“It’s not an easy journey for everyone, especially for Vietnamese expats who want to search for their personal development,” says Van. She initially started working on the concept with fellow Eindhoven-based expat My Nguyen, who has overcome many challenges during five years in the Netherlands regarding visas and her career, including getting promotions.
“I had to find my way,” says My.
So she and Van came up with the concept of building a community to help other struggling Vietnamese find their way. “I said, ‘Let’s make it happen!’ “
Van and My found two additional co-founders via LinkedIn – Huong Hoang and Van Bui, and Viet Make It’s growth trajectory has been straight up since its founding.
What makes their fast growth even more surprising is that Vietnamese expats, or Dutch people of Vietnamese origins, total only about 25,000 people in the Netherlands, a far smaller number than in France (500,000) or in Germany (200,000.)
After a few events, Viet Make It founders discovered they were attracting not just Vietnamese expats, but other nationalities. When they looked at their membership, they discovered it was about 80 percent Vietnamese along with 20 percent from other nationalities and ethnic backgrounds.
The Viet Make It website is in both Vietnamese and English, and the events and masterclasses have been particularly ambitious for such a young organization.
• a digital careers seminar
• a master class by Anastasiia Serafyn in getting hired in the Netherlands
• two masterclasses featuring experienced professionals from Royal Dutch Shell
• personal branding
• how to write a better CV
• how to negotiate salary
• how to get a job in the Netherlands
• cultural exchange
All this has Viet Make It at an inflection point. Though some people have come to the group to connect culturally and linguistically, Vietnamese people outside Vietnam don’t necessarily speak the language. So, they’ve decided to welcome everyone as they consider expanding to the rest of Europe from the Netherlands.
To accomplish all the things they want to accomplish – creating a platform to connect professionals, offering top-notch personal development and professional business seminars, blogs from business experts and, ultimately, live events – they need more staff and more operating capital.
The four co-founders are discussing various business models including looking for corporate sponsorship, donations and maybe memberships. “Our readers believe in us, so I think they’ll support us,” My says.
If you want to help build the Viet Make It community, you can join, donate and go to the website where it says, “Buy us a coffee.”
Co-CEO of Dispatches Europe. A former military reporter, I'm a serial expat who has lived in France, Turkey, Germany and the Netherlands.