Prominent Asian entrepreneur Le Duc Huy, General Director of Simexco DakLak Company

DNHN - APEA granted awards to 65 outstanding companies and business owners in 2023, among them was Mr. Le Duc Huy, General Director of 2-9 Dak Lak Import-Export Company Limited (Simexco DakLak).

The "Asia's Outstanding Entrepreneur - Master Entrepreneur Award" was given to Mr. Le Duc Huy, General Director of Simexco DakLak, in 2023. (Ảnh: SMC)

Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship (APEA) is the most prestigious business award in Asia, founded in 2007 and run by Enterprise Asia to recognise exceptional companies and entrepreneurs who have built profitable enterprises and sustainably cultivated positive values for the community. APEA granted awards to 65 outstanding companies and business owners in 2023, among them was Mr. Le Duc Huy, General Director of 2-9 Dak Lak Import-Export Company Limited (Simexco DakLak).

With a revenue of $250 million annually, Simexco DakLak has grown to be the Central Highlands' largest agricultural enterprise after 30 years of establishment and intensive development. Early in October 2023, Simexco DakLak became the only business in the Central Highlands to accomplish a remarkable "double": the company was recognised as the recipient of the "Asia's Outstanding Entrepreneur - Master Entrepreneur Award" and the "Asian Excellent Enterprise - Corporate Excellence Award" for Mr. Le Duc Huy, general director of Simexco DakLak.

"I would like to thank the 40,000 coffee and pepper farmers who have accompanied us in sustainable development, creating quality products with the highest value for global consumers," General Director Le Duc Huy stated during the award event. I would also like to express my gratitude to the thousands of workers who have helped Simexco accomplish this goal over the previous 30 years. Glad to be a businesswoman, a businessman, and a citizen of Vietnam."

He became a member of Simexco DakLak at age 25. Thirteen years later, at the age of 38, Mr. Le Duc Huy received an appointment as General Director. He claimed that even if he was still young, I was "mature" enough at the time given his practical experiences, including following officers and staff and comprehending the unit's culture and ideology.

Yes, it is correct! Having spent many years living in Dak Lak, I have a good understanding of the "captain" of Simexco DakLak. I also visited coffee and pepper production models adapting to climate change, certified coffee and pepper production models, speciality coffee production models, etc., with him once when we travelled to the land of Ea Tan commune, Ea Toh... Krong Nang district, Dak Lak province. These places are considered lands with coffee and pepper of outstanding value compared to many places in Central Highlands. As a result, I can somewhat understand him and his contributions to the community.

Mr. Huy asserts that premium coffee goods are necessary for them to provide value. Inconsistent coffee quality makes building the brand and adding value challenging. This occurred approximately ten years ago in Vietnam. Making speciality coffee, which is coffee of the highest calibre, is the only way to make it different.

Mr Huy and Simexco DakLak started travelling with farmers and small-scale cooperatives that produce speciality coffee in 2014. Only five tonnes of this product were produced in the first year. Businesses were creating, honing their techniques, and searching for markets during that time. 600 tonnes of premium and speciality coffee were produced by the 2022–2023 crop year and exported to numerous nations at prices between 100 and 200 percent over market value. Specifically, Simexco DakLak put the most expensive batch of Robusta coffee in the world—two tonnes of speciality coffee—up for auction at a price of up to 700 million VND. Additionally, this shipment of speciality coffee took home the award in the 2023 "Vietnam Specialty Coffee - Vietnam Amazing Cup" competition.

According to Mr Huy, there have been five editions of the Vietnam Specialty Coffee Competition. In the meantime, the speciality coffee auction is in its inaugural year. 

Farmers can showcase their skills and demonstrate the calibre of coffee beans they have carefully cultivated and processed in this playground. Vietnamese speciality coffee beans have a market value that is entirely separate from the price of the commercial coffee market, which is frequently impacted by a wide range of macro factors as well as global financial and trade organisations.

Over the next ten years, this market will play a major role in pushing Vietnam's product industry's overall worth to $10 billion. Vietnam produces 1.8 million tonnes of coffee annually, but only 3,000 tonnes of speciality coffee, meaning there is still a lot of space for growth. Furthermore, speciality coffee is rising rapidly while commercial coffee is slowing down in major markets like Korea, China, the US, Japan, and Europe. Simexco DakLak plans to raise its yearly processing production by 50% shortly. In the meantime, it will actively engage in local and international trade and marketing campaigns to "plant the flag" of Vietnamese speciality coffee wherever it may be found. - Mr. Huy revealed with optimism.

Following fifteen years of service with Simexco DakLak, Mr. Le Duc Huy has remained steadfast in his commitment to realising his dreams of introducing Vietnamese coffee to the global market and establishing a sustainable business model for Simexco DakLak that will enhance the lives of unit workers, officers, and farmers alike.

Throughout the strategy's 14-year implementation, Mr. Le Duc Huy and the Simexco DakLak team have worked to establish a linking system with farmers covering up to 40,000 farming households and 50,000 hectares in three provinces in the Central Highlands that meet international certification standards, including Rainforest Rainforest (RA), Community Coffee (4C), Fairtrade, Organic, Geographical Indication of Buon Ma Thuot Coffee, and domestic certifications. Farmers involved in the Simexco DakLak production chain have progressively altered their perspectives and awareness regarding farming, reducing environmental effects, enforcing labour safety and cleanliness, and maintaining food hygiene; farming to satisfy consumer demands, farming to transform livelihoods. In addition, social issues are also appropriately addressed, such as the prohibition of child labour, the requirement that all farmers' school-age children attend school, the close examination of gender equality issues, and the increased attention given to women farmers.

As of right now, Simexco DakLak has a logistical network, a plant for processing products, a management system, and a process that can handle the company's 135,000 tonnes of yearly production of coffee and agricultural goods. In particular, Simexco DakLak has been a leader in raising the value of Vietnam's coffee industry by promoting the production of Vietnamese Specialty Coffee products, which have a value three to five times higher than commercial coffee and considerably increase farmer income. In addition to putting an emphasis on economic development, Simexco DakLak is always at the forefront of creating businesses that meet sustainable standards, defending the environment, adapting to climate change, and cutting emissions in agriculture through the implementation of sustainable landscape cultivation programmes, the use of microbiological and organic products instead of agricultural chemicals, and more. Products made by Simexco DakLak and farmer partnership models are currently supplied to 75 nations and territories. The biggest roasting companies in the world, like Nestle, JDE, Lavazza, and Strauss, directly use Simexco DakLak products.

After more than 30 years of founding and growth, Simexco DakLak has produced VND 83,000 billion in total income, 4,000 million USD in total export turnover, 2,500,000 tonnes of coffee consumed globally, and 125 countries have received Simexco DakLak products. Mr. Le Duc Huy, the General Director of Simexco DakLak's production and business operations, has significantly increased the company's level of business efficiency. In 2022, the enterprise's charter capital profit is expected to reach 40% (126 billion/315 billion VND), while worker income is expected to rise to 17 million VND per person per month.

As Mr Huy was always adamant about being the company's general director as well as the deputy secretary of the party committee, he upheld his moral principles, lived simply, and was a good role model in all spheres of life. I have to be quite careful at work. Since we represent the group in communication, we must exercise caution and professionalism. Simexco DakLak has long upheld "trust" as one of its guiding principles. To satisfy the highest standards set by the market and customers, the unit as a whole constantly promotes professionalism in the manner in which it operates and in the process of managing the quality of goods, delivery, service, quality, etc. Simexco DakLak has advocated for the use of digital transformation in business and production in recent years, even when it comes to interacting with farmers. All of the people's garden information has been digitised by the unit; links have codes and traceability to satisfy the market's strictest requirements. That's another positive aspect that helped Simexco DakLak succeed during the COVID-19 pandemic and grow.

The Young Entrepreneurs Movement of Dak Lak province, term VI, term 2018 - 2021... awarded Mr. Le Duc Huy the title "Typical Vietnamese Entrepreneur of 2022" in recognition of his achievements, which he sustained from 2016 to 2022. Mr. Huy also received numerous certificates of merit from the Prime Minister and the People's Committee of Dak Lak province for outstanding achievements and positive contributions to the development of the coffee industry in Dak Lak province. Additionally, he received the prestigious "Asia's Outstanding Entrepreneur - Master Entrepreneur Award" in October 2023.

Nguyen Hieu

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