Larry Nguyen of Hamona was selected as the entrepreneur with the best pitch during our recent Inclusive Business Matchmaking event in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. He won a cheque of 25.000 USD worth of technical assistance via the IB Accelerator in Vietnam. We contacted Larry to learn more about Hamona.
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“Hamona supplies an easy, healthy and delicious coconut drink, while simultaneously improving the income of farmers in Vietnam. We have innovated the coconut drink so that people can consume our product in a natural and convenient way, compared to eating an apple.
But we cannot do this without the cooperation from farmers in the Mekong Delta area. We work with farmers who use traditional methods to take care of the trees and we look at the way they harvest too. They deserve an improved income as together we are making a really great product.
Hamona sets up a tightly controlled collaboration with farmers in order to purchase the best coconuts, and deliver them to distributing partners, wholesalers and retailers’ chains with the highest commitment to preserve the stability of quality and freshness of the coconuts handed to end consumers.”
How did you get the idea to use this approach?
“The idea came naturally when we were looking to create an innovative product that has world-wide market potential and at the same time local competitive strength. Coconut water is becoming more popular every day and there is a lot of potential for further innovation. There is scientific research about the medicinal and nutritional values of coconuts.
When we were building up the company while having low resources, we had to be inventive and therefore came up with our model of using the coconut as natural packaging for the coconut drink. Hamona Vietnam Ltd. is the worldwide pioneer in manufacturing and marketing premium fresh coconuts, Hamona is the acronym of Harmony with Mother Nature.”
How do low-income farmers benefit from your model?
“When cooperating with Hamona, farmers not only get a higher income, but also a stable income and access to knowledge. Our way of pricing is fair, longterm-based, and help farmers get 30% more income than before. Besides, farmers can easily predict their income in the future, so they will invest into improving product quality, productivity, and farm extension. Hamona facilitates knowledge sharing sessions among farmers, so that they can learn and apply each other experiences, hence increase production and decrease costs. Our traceability system help farmers identify plant problems and then take action to fix the problems.”
See how the Hamona coconut is made in the video above that was created for a Kickstarter campaign.
How are you different from other coconut producers?
“Hamona started as an eco-innovation idea: we try to be innovative and making an positive impact to the environment and society at the same time. From the beginning we said that we do not just want to be a part in the chain, but to be a producer with our own brand. That requires a lot of efforts throughout the supply chain. It’s difficult but we believe it is the way for longterm success.”
What is the biggest milestone you’ve achieved with Hamona to date?
“We have learnt important lessons to sharpen our business model to be able to reach the phase of scaling up. In the beginning, we have tried to identify ways to solve problems in the whole supply chain, both on the supply side and demand side. On the supply side, we have figured out the way to work with farmers and improve their income. In the demand side, for example, we have tested to know what channels are suitable to distribute our product to end-users.”
What are your biggest challenges right now?
“We now have the challenge of getting enough resources to scale up at the right speed. This includes capital and Human Relations to expand the team. We still have to learn a lot in the way of acquiring these resources.
Fortunately there are many chances right here in Vietnam. Investors actively look for quality companies. The internet and its tools also help us to connect with the talents we need to grow.”
What are your plans for the next two years?
“Hamona would like to serve customers in the U.S and Europe. So we will implement multiple activities to understand those markets better and then expand. We also increase the number of farms we work with to fit the demand, and at the same time increase the social impact. We still need to improve our team abilities, productivity and operation efficiency.”
You participated in the first Inclusive Business Matchmaking event in Vietnam and won the award for ‘Best Pitch’. How was it and did you get new interesting contacts?
“It was our luck that the event coincided with our launch of ‘Series A’ fundraising campaign. The event was very well-organized and productive. We met impact fund managers and got serious questions from them. After the meeting, I sent our fundraising pack to them and hope to continue the conversation soon. I wish The IB Accelerator will organise more event like this in the near future.
I am so happy that I got the prize. Our business is in the scaling up phase, so we need funding to expand our operations. Hopefully the technical assistance will help to fulfil these needs.”
Visit the Hamona venture profile to learn more about the company. Register as investor on this platform to get access to the fundraising information of Hamona: Investment amount, self assessment quickscan, business plan and financial forecasting.