Thi Thi Hoang. Founder and CEO of Bizconnect

Thi Thi Hoang

Thi Thi Hoang has followed her dreams and achieved some amazing results. Born in Vietnam after the Vietnam War, Hoang found her way out of poverty through studies, which allowed her to land a position at one of the country’s major financial institutes, Eximbank, post-university.

After years of working for the bank, Hoang took the chance of a lifetime and moved to the United States along with her young son. It wasn’t an easy move and finding a position at a financial institution in the US was difficult. Seeking a way to improve her English, Hoang changed her career path, and entered cosmetology school where she studied to be a hairstylist.

As fate would have it, the COVID-19 pandemic offered Hoang the opportunity to enter the entrepreneurial world. Thanks to her connections in Vietnam, Hoang was able to import PPE masks in the fight against the deadly disease. She continued her entrepreneurial work in 2020 by founding a brand-new company, Bizconnect. The company aims to help small and medium-sized businesses benefit from the global economy. 

Thi Thi, Bizconnect is a very new company and only started in 2020. Thus far it has had quite a bit of success. Can you tell us how Bizconnect started and why you developed the company?

I formed Bizconnect with a mission to help small and medium-sized businesses to benefit from the global economy and be able to compete with larger corporations. We started with a technology team in Vietnam and then quickly hired a group of experts in the United States, including our Chief Technology Officer from IBM Watson. Our talented Bizconnect team has now partnered with leading data, sales, and marketing companies in the world, including Dun & Bradstreet.

The Bizconnect model is innovative. It’s the first Global B2B search engine and community on the market, a new kind of networking platform. A portal where B2B buyers and sellers can make the connections they need to buy or sell more products, to have better inventory management, and much more. And we’re the first to make it very clear up front that privacy and security matter. We sought out top ethics advisors to join our team, and we recruited experts in machine learning, database management, web crawling, spidering, user interface, mobile applications and IT security, along with data scientists and artificial intelligence specialists.

Bizconnect began in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. How much influence did the pandemic have on your decision to start the company?

In some ways, the pandemic spurred us to action, because it showcased the need for businesses to have a way to network, connect, and communicate with each other virtually – in a safe and secure manner online. In the past, trade shows and large-scale in-person events were a key way for companies to find new suppliers or buyers, seek new services, advertise or launch new products, discover better methods of importing/exporting/shipping, and “network” in general. But once we faced the near-global lockdown, it became obvious that an online platform specifically dedicated to B2B networking would be not only a welcome resource, but a much-needed way to help all businesses grow and succeed.

Bizconnect has an incredible staff of employees made up of individuals from all over the world. It is this diverse group that allows Bizconnect to build and provide clients with exceptional products and services.

The goal was for Bizconnect to finish phase one of development by April 2021. Was the company able to achieve this goal and what were some of the challenges you faced completing the first phase?

We modified the time frame to June 2021, to allow us to build our teams and get software in development and tested, etc. We are fortunate to have an exceptional tech team, who despite being in different locations—literally all over the world and in different time zones—are able to collaborate and problem-solve in real time to get the site up and running. We’ve been able to pivot when needed to ensure that the user experience, for both buyers and sellers, is thoroughly satisfying.

Bizconnect uses an ethical ad platform for businesses. Can you explain the ethical ad platform and how does it differ from the platforms used by Google, Yahoo, and other search engines?

We knew that B2B lead generation and advertising was overdue for disruption. Our privacy-first and ethics-driven approach to connecting businesses and professionals together, coupled with our highly-experienced team of expert and enterprise veterans, is the perfect combination to lead this B2B search engine transformation.

To start, all users must be verified business buyers/sellers before they can use Bizconnect, so we can guarantee that advertisers’ clicks are from legitimate B2B parties, not individual/personal “B2C” consumers. We will never sell user data. Users can search for products or services without programmatic ads following them around the internet.

And unlike with other search engines, all keyword sponsors rotate equally, to ensure everyone a fair rotation at the top of search results, regardless of company size. Unlike with other search engines, there is NO keyword bidding. All businesses show up equally in organic search, below the keyword sponsors.

Hoang didn’t start out with the goal to disrupt computer technology with Bizconnect. Her original motivation was marketing and social media. Hoang’s experience in marketing and social media showed that there are areas of computer technology that can be improved upon for businesses.

Thi Thi Hoang-2

Were you always driven by computer technology? What was your background in computer technology prior to founding Bizconnect?

No, actually for me, Bizconnect has been a journey in the making. I graduated from university with a degree in Marketing and Social Media. This career path allowed me to be active and social in the business community. While my background isn’t specifically tech-related, I was able to use my international resources to help import millions of protective face masks during the pandemic, for a consumer goods company. That experience made me realize the challenges that are faced by small and medium-sized businesses every day, when trying to source inventory, set up or improve logistics systems, etc. There has never been an easy way to find and make those B2B connections until now, with Bizconnect!

Thi Thi, you were born in Vietnam and lived much of your life there. However, in 2015, you left Vietnam and moved to the United States. What inspired you to move to the US? How difficult was it to adjust and begin a new career in America?

I was born in Vietnam in 1978, after the Vietnam War. It was a difficult time growing up and food was scarce. I quickly learned that education was the way to climb out of poverty, live the life I wanted, and have the means and ability to help others. I was fortunate to do well in school and I earned a degree in Economics and Social Science & Humanities with a dual major in Economics and Social Media Marketing.

After graduation, I worked for Eximbank, a leading export and import bank in Vietnam. I started at the bottom of the research and development department, and within five years I’d been promoted to manager of the marketing and promotions department, working directly for the CEO. During this time I was also raising my son Khang as a single mother. I learned that in order to balance work and family, you must put in the hours and effort. Many nights after putting Khang to bed, I would stay up working well past midnight, but sacrificing sleep was worth it because I had a dream!

I had always dreamt of living in the United States and providing my son with a better life than I had known as a child. After years of hard work, we were able to leave Vietnam in 2015 and move to the US. Starting fresh was wonderful but also challenging! Despite my years at Eximbank, breaking into the banking industry in the United States proved extremely difficult and I knew that I needed to improve my English. I made a decision to start over, by earning my cosmetology license and working as a hairstylist while I refined my English skills.

In 2019, I was hired at a consumer products company where I was able to utilize my marketing and product development skills once again. When the pandemic hit in 2020, my connections in Vietnam helped our company bring the highest-quality silver-infused face masks and neck gaiters to the United States. Because Vietnam has one of the highest success rates against airborne diseases (including COVID-19), we knew it was important to use that technology to help protect people here in the United States. In less than 10 months, our products from Vietnam – over 17 million face masks and gaiters – generated nearly $60 million in revenue, while providing the very best protection against COVID-19.

Following the success of the face masks, I formed Bizconnect in 2020 with a mission to help small and medium-sized businesses benefit from the global economy and be able to compete with larger corporations.

In April 2021, I resigned from the consumer products company to lead Bizconnect through its initial launch and expansion.

Hoang has a strong entrepreneurial spirit which has led to her success in business. Although Bizconnect is a success, she continues to work with importing facemasks from Vietnam and is succeeding on two business fronts.

Using your entrepreneurial spirit, during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, through your connections in Vietnam, you were able to import more than 17 million PPE face masks to the US. This generated nearly $60 million revenue. Did the success of importing PPE face masks lead to Bizconnect’s founding?

No, Bizconnect has its own investors.

Are you still importing facemasks to the US?

Yes, the consumer goods company is still thriving and helping people around the world stay protected and safe, with the silver-infused face masks and neck gaiters.

You are leading Bizconnect and looking toward expansion. What is next for the company?

We will continue to add users, build up the platform, add keyword sponsors and advertisers; so that we can provide the most exceptional user experience for B2B buyers and sellers online – and help their businesses grow.

Thi Thi, you have led a successful life. What advice do you have for other female entrepreneurs just starting out?

Tomorrow is another day and can always be better. If things aren’t working out, find a way to pivot and choose a new way to go. Don’t give up!

Of all the business experiences you have had thus far, which is your most rewarding?

Of my past business experiences, I found my work at Eximbank to be highly rewarding; I was able to learn a great deal about the financial world, and I learned how I could use that knowledge to help others.

Thi Thi, what is a day in your life like?

Wake up early and exercise – usually a run, followed by a healthy breakfast with my family. Sometimes I have early meetings to handle before heading to the office. After work back at home, I talk with family and friends in Vietnam to check in. Cook dinner, then relax, read, or watch a movie.

What is something most people don’t know about you?

I am an expert hairdresser/stylist, having learned everything from nothing. When I first moved to the United States, I went to beauty school and learned the trade from the ground up.

Can you share two of your favorite quotes with us?

“Tomorrow will be better,” and “Think first, talk second.”

If you had the power to change just one thing in the world what would it be?

I would find a way to help children who are sick or not well. Whether that means with medical intervention or otherwise. Sometimes something as simple as a kind gesture, a silly joke, or just being a good listener or quiet company – can make someone feel better.

Hoang is living proof that the American dream is alive and well for those ready to sacrifice and fight for it. Despite being successful in Vietnam working for a major financial institute, she moved to the US and started over to reach her goals.

Now, as the creator of Bizconnect, she is thriving as an entrepreneur. Hoang has accomplished whatever she has put her mind to in a fascinating career. The sky’s the limit for what Hoang does next.

Please visit the Bizconnect website to learn more: https://bizconnect.com/home

 

 

 

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