In 2014, Huynh became CEO of BioSpring, a Vietnamese company, founded in 2012 by British bacterial geneticist Simon Cutting, that makes chemical-free organic animal feed containing bacteria that help pigs, chickens, fish and shrimp digest food more effectively and grow faster while eating less. The company has put out a detail from a field trial in more than 7,000 households, showcasing the results for pigs owned in a “typical household” by a woman named Nguyen Thi Lien. Complete with a photo of a plump porker and a portrait of Lien, the schematic of the results shows BioSpring’s feed adding almost 18 pounds and $21 in value to finished pigs compared to animals fed with the products Lien had been using.
BUILDING A BETTER PORKER
“The pig grows faster, it’s healthier, it eats less food, and the farmer gets more for it,” Huynh says, adding that improving farmers’ yields increases food security for communities.
He describes Vietnamese agricultural productivity as “very low level” and says bringing cutting-edge technology to the sector will have “a very large impact.”
BioSpring appealed to Huynh for reasons both sentimental and practical. “My parents are farmers,” he notes. And as a highly educated business expert, and a former boy from the countryside, he can communicate and plan effectively with scientists and small-scale farmers.
His HBS schooling, he says, provided the capacity to “enter a new industry and quickly study it, understand it, understand where the bottlenecks are, understand where we need to go, where we are now, what is still missing, and how to get the missing pieces.
“This is one of the very few industry opportunities that I feel our success will benefit pretty much everybody – it benefits the farm owners, the consumers, the region, the country.”
Huynh says “pay it forward” has become his mission in life.
“I came from a humble background but received favors from countless strangers,” he says. “I can afford to live comfortably in the U.S. or Vietnam, so it means more to me to be in Vietnam and create an impact for people who are less fortunate.”
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