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Meet Giang “Thi Thi” Hoang – Helping Businesses Succeed with a Global B2B Search Engine

Today we have selected Giang “Thi Thi” Hoang to take her interview. She is the Founder and CEO of Bizconnect.

First of all, how are you and your team doing in these COVID-19 times?

We are very fortunate that our team has stayed healthy despite the challenges brought by the pandemic. Our team is generally pretty health-conscious, and that surely helped! And by following the recommended CDC precautions and protocols, we continued our work as an essential business while keeping our employees and team members safe.

Tell us about you, your career, how you founded or joined this company?

I was born in Vietnam in 1978, after the Vietnam war. My father was an engineer, and my mother was a factory worker; even though they also had many small business ventures on the side, it was a difficult time growing up, and food was scarce.

I viewed education as 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, attending High School for Gifted Students before university. I earned a degree in Economics and Social Science & Humanities with a dual major in Economics and Social Media Marketing.

After graduation, I was offered a position with Eximbank, a leading export and import bank in Vietnam. I started at the bottom of the research and development department. Within five years, I’d been promoted to manager of the marketing and promotions department, working directly for the CEO. This position allowed me to work with top business clients, government agencies, and marketing and media companies. During this time, I was also raising my son Khang as a single mother. So I learned that 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. So I decided to start over by earning my cosmetology license and working as a hairstylist while refining my English skills.

In 2019, I was hired at a consumer products company where I utilized 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. I became CEO with a mission to help small and medium-sized businesses benefit from the global economy and 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 CTO from IBM Watson.

Our talented Bizconnect team has now partnered with leading data, sales, and marketing companies globally, including Dun & Bradstreet.

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

How does your company innovate?

Our core product is innovative in itself! Bizconnect is the first Global B2B Search Engine and Community on the market. We saw the need for this kind of networking platform. If you will, a portal where B2B buyers and sellers can make the connections; they need to buy or sell more products, have better inventory management, and much more. And we’re the first to make it very clear upfront 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.

B2B lead generation and advertising are 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.

How the Coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?

We are fortunate in many ways. First, our team has stayed healthy, and we’ve been able to keep the business moving forward and meeting deadlines. And in some ways, the pandemic has positively impacted us because it showcased the need for businesses to have a way to network, connect, and communicate with each other virtually – safely and securely 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.

Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?

Sure, I have to make difficult decisions every day. But at Bizconnect, we’re keeping the bigger picture in mind. It may be cliche to say that “A rising tide lifts all boats,” but it’s true. Yes, we’ve had to pivot and sometimes make changes on the fly, but we know we are going in the right direction. We truly believe in our product. When companies can help each other and mutually benefit – whether from the sale of hard goods and services or from sharing information and inspiration – everyone wins.

What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?

We’ve carefully selected a team of experts to ensure that Bizconnect will be a win-win environment to help small and medium-sized businesses level out the playing field with larger corporations – which is even more important after the pandemic caused many small businesses to close, temporarily or permanently. With our dedicated team of specialists adept at machine learning, web crawling, database management, AI, and more, we’ve set a new, higher standard for a search engine. And through our relationship with Dun & Bradstreet, all businesses on the site are verified and vetted. We’re able to offer language translation services, consulting, and verified site profiles and videos to help visitors safely and securely engage with each other.

Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?

We really don’t have any competitors at this point. Traditional search engines are designed for consumers, making them less effective for B2B keyword searches, more challenging for businesses to find specific products and services, and harder for advertisers targeting a commercial audience. Bizconnect is the first search engine and community to address and meet these needs.

Any final thoughts?

Be present and enjoy the moment, but also be looking forward. If your company is enjoying a growth period or financial success, revel in those accomplishments and let them fuel your desire for more. Celebrate small successes, and don’t be afraid to pivot when obstacles pop up. Be kind, show appreciation, and remember to smile.

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