At the age of 31, Dang Hong Thai has many years of traveling abroad under his belt, and he uses the experience to create a channel for the youth in Vietnam.
Thai was one of 30 young people that were included on the annual Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2020.
He is CEO and founder of Ybox.vn, the name meaning ‘a box for the young.'
He was well known before as a champion of the earth via environmental activities.
Happy to give back
During his time as a student, Thai paid a lot of attention to social activities.
He took part in a club of social entrepreneurs who developed projects dedicated to the community.
Thai launched an organization planting trees to raise awareness of the environment for young people in Hanoi.
“I worked as a social worker then but I always felt that I was cut out to do business,” said Thai.
“I would like to become an entrepreneur."
Thai started working for an IT company based in the Philippines after graduating from university seven years ago.
Working abroad made it difficult to take part in social projects, so he turned to contribute via the Internet.
Thai came up with the idea of setting up a platform that helps Vietnamese students be empowered with useful knowledge and skills, which would, in turn, help them have chances of going abroad like him.
Ybox was born from the idea, only one month after Thai went abroad for work.
According to Thai, despite about ten-hour working days with considerable pressure at that time, he always felt happy and so energetic in doing something with Ybox after work.
He spent 2-3 hours on weekdays and full time on weekends with Ybox.
Thai forgot his difficulties while immersing himself in his passion for the project.
Starting as a Page on Facebook, Ybox quickly developed into a popular platform thanks to young people’s support.
Ybox attracted thousands of users only months after roll-out.
Despite working for free, many students studying abroad are willing to share their knowledge, experience, and opportunities with others via the platform Ybox.
“We were fortunate to receive support from big businesses and multinational groups based in Vietnam," recalled Thai.
"They must feel the enormous potential of the Vietnamese youth to decide to cooperate with us in providing them with opportunities for internships and jobs.”
After seven years, Ybox has amassed more than twenty million users with an average monthly increase of about one million.
Offering chances to youth
In Thai’s opinion, Ybox has the aim of helping the young not waste time browsing Facebook and focus on themselves and personal development instead.
Ybox has become an open platform providing assorted opportunities for the young.
Its users have chances to hone their skills, find jobs, hunt for scholarships, and get knowledge of life and start-ups.
Ybox provides young Vietnamese with answers to common questions such as how to learn English, how to develop skills to help with the use of foreign languages, how to apply for a job in a company, and how to write a curriculum vitae.
The platform also provides scholarships, especially chances for internships for students.
During the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Ybox still held an online job fair to connect businesses and the platform’s users.
“I am growing old, so it would be harder for me to understand young people,” confessed Thai.
“So we must have young leaders who help to develop Ybox.
"We are social entrepreneurs, we would not be distracted from our main mission of developing and accelerating the Vietnamese youth!"