Tribute to postwar hardship a sound business plan

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An idea to bring back memories of postwar hardships to a coffee shop has won a group of five students in Hanoi the top prize for best business plan at a national competition.

With the “Subsidy Coffee” project, the students from the University of Foreign Trade were named the champions of the 2009 Khoi Nghiep (Career Start) Competition late last month.

Phuong Hoa, the group leader, said she got the idea when she went to an exhibition on the subsidy era. Hoa was obsessed with the exhibit and she wanted to “do something to pay tribute to an era of hardship,” she said.

Hoa then discussed her idea with four of her friends and they all supported her. Together they started the project.

At first, not many people thought it was a good idea to bring back memories of hard times.

“A lot of people said it was a crazy idea. Some even called it backward because they don’t want to be reminded of what they want to bury deep in the past,” said Hoai Thuong, a member of the group.

“But it’s great. We stuck to our guns together, or the project would have been canceled.”

The group said they refused to give up. Instead they tried their best to prove that their business plan was worth considering. After classes, they did a lot of research on the era, interviewed experts and looked for a premise for the coffee shop.

According to their plan, the shop will be built on a 100-150 square meter area. Many objects of the subsidy era, from worn-out clothes and a Thong Nhat-branded bicycle to ration tickets for food and fuel products, will be displayed at the café.

The group said they want their business plan to convey a message to young people.

“The hardship era made people tighten their belt and live a stringent life. But it was also the time when they were creative and they struggled for a better life,” student The Duc Bach said.

“We want to bring history back to life in a cool way for young people,” Hoang Tuan Minh said. “They will have no excuse to say no.”

The Khoi Nghiep competition, initiated by Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, aims to give students opportunities to attract funding for their business projects.

Source: Agencies

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