Colonel Pham Gap Veteran: Entrepreneur Challenging New Front!

10:37:01 AM | 8/10/2019

Like “a fighting army, a working army and a manufacturing army”, images of soldierly entrepreneurs and their enterprises have shone not only in the Vietnamese business community, but also in the international arena. In the commemorative atmosphere towards the 15th anniversary of Vietnam Entrepreneurs Day, Colonel Pham Gap, Chairman of the Board of Directors and General Director of Thai Son Corporation, has a heartfelt story about this business for other enterprises and younger generations wishing to start a business.

Wearing the military uniform but carrying a novel mission - faring on the economic front, what do you think about this?

Doing business is a basic function, an important political task. This is a long-term strategy, deeply demonstrating the revolutionary nature and good traditions of the Vietnamese people's army and illustrating the political awareness and responsibility of the army in understanding and fulfilling Party views and policies on synergizing economy with defense and vice versa.
The military army always pioneers in socioeconomic development in difficult and arduous places and closely combines socioeconomic development with national defense and security. Besides, the army always complies with progress and ensures construction quality, especially in strategic places like building border patrol roads, ensuring telecommunication signals in remote and border areas and islands, building bridges and tunnels, extracting minerals, producing agricultural, forest and aquatic products, and providing fishing logistics. Economic and defense units actively coordinate with political organizations, gradually assemble people to form border clusters and villages and improve their material and spiritual life, thus winning the trust of the people and building the foundation for building a national defense and solid people's security.

How has Thai Son promoted the soldierly cultural identity in line with the corporate culture in the current context of strong international economic integration?

Culture is the root of every business. That spirit comes from values, beliefs, ideas and principles. This unique identity reflects the vision and mission of business. If an enterprise loses its strategy, it can do it again; if a skill is lost, it can be retrained; if an employee is lost, another can be recruited to fill the post, but if the corporate culture is lost, the brand will disappear forever.

Thai Son Corporation is an economic unit affiliated to the Ministry of Defense. In the light of the sprit “Pioneers are soldiers” on the economic front, the company has aligned the soldierly cultural identity with the corporate culture. Soldierly virtues are solidarity, discipline, willingness to accept adversity and hardship, determination to overcome hardships, willingness to act bravely, resiliently and persistently. These traits make up the power of Thai Son Corporation/Ministry of Defense and distinguish it from other enterprises.

With the “Veteran - Entrepreneur” spirit and the vanguard spirit on the business front, Thai Son Corporation has continuously promoted joint venture, investment cooperation and trade promotion in foreign markets. In 2001, the corporation actively opened the Representative Office in Moscow (Russia), focusing on waste technology transfer, import of military equipment, and trade promotion of garments, handicraft and seafood with partners in Russia and some CIS countries.

By late 2019, we will coordinate with Japanese partners to research and make feasibility reports on LHG Power Plant Project and the Waste-to-Power Plant to submit to the Ministry of Defense for consideration and approval. We will also work with Brazilian partners to import cows from Brazil. So far, Thai Son Corporation has established business relationships with many countries around the world, such as Ukraine, South Korea, Japan, China, India, Singapore and some countries in Africa and Latin America, thus expanding its markets, improving its business performance, and strengthening potential and defense power, and combining military foreign affairs to maintain a peaceful and stable environment for national development.

At his meeting with businesses and entrepreneurs, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc emphasized that entrepreneurs must be nationalistic and patriotic to develop sustainably. So, how has Thai Son Corporation expressed its corporate social responsibility and sustainable development for the community and for the future of the country?

The Party Committee and the Management Board of Thai Son Corporation regularly educate employees about the sense of responsibility, duty, compassion, gratitude and soldierly spirit on the economic front; and build close, intimate relations with the people. On construction sites, the corporation takes advantage of holidays, break time and available machinery to help localities build inter-village and inter-communal roads and sports grounds. We also organize cultural exchanges, arts performances, physical training and sporting activities. We also take care of heroic Vietnamese mothers, build kindergartens, clinics and charity houses, and provide medical care for policy-beneficiary people and ethnic minorities. Thai Son Corporation has presented more than 200 charity houses worth over VND10 billion in many localities across the country since 2007 and spent billions of Vietnamese dong for social policy funds, community development funds, and study encouragement funds. These politically and socially important works have helped build up the trust of the public, the Party and the army. The corporation is always supported by the Party and authorities and is trusted, loved by the people, who wholeheartedly help the corporation both in its business activity and defense duties.

With your experience and devotion, do you have any message to motivate young people seeking to start a business?

I am a soldier working in an economic unit administered by the Ministry of Defense. In my work, I have always thoroughly grasped and strictly followed the guidance for a military-run business entity, making officers and soldiers aware of their functions and duties, militarily and economically, to strengthen defense resources, contribute to the State Budget, improve the material and spiritual life of employees and serve military social welfare policies. We adhere to Party guidelines, comply with the law and never abuse the name of the army to do anything against the law.

Young people, when starting a business, must first of all have business ideas and passionately seek to realize such ideas. Successful businesspeople are those who are determined to overcome obstacles and even accept failure to gain experience. And, importantly, they must be disciplined and determined to develop business ideas no matter what they face on the way.

The Party and the Government have appreciated the contribution of entrepreneurs and enterprises and issued many resolutions to support them. How do you assess the care of the Party and Government for entrepreneurs and enterprises?

The Resolution 09 of the Politburo is the first document in history that the Party has recognized that “Entrepreneurs are a force”, cheering and stimulating entrepreneurs who are devoted to work for the cause of national economic development. Following Resolution 09 of the Politburo, the Prime Minister issued Resolution 35, further affirming the State's recognition and deep concern for enterprises and entrepreneurs.

However, the Government needs to concretize its resolutions with specific actions. For example, it is necessary to accelerate economic institutional reforms in line with international practices and international commitments to quickly access free trade agreements to which Vietnam is a signatory. It is essential to have open long-term mechanisms and policies to assure businesses; publicly and transparently disclose socioeconomic development orientations and plans and support policies to guide entrepreneurs and enterprises to invest in what is ensured to face minimum risks. Enterprises should have equal access to development resources; have a legal corridor, a favorable business environment to focus investment on business development, join hands with other units to expand domestic and international consumer markets.

Thank you very much!