KOTO transforms the lives of disadvantaged and at-risk youth in Vietnam through a holistic hospitality training program

KOTO stands for Know One, Teach One. Learning should be passed on; knowledge is meant to be shared. This is the essential idea of KOTO’s Vietnamese-Australian founder, Jimmy Pham. More than 16 years ago, Mr Jimmy opened a hospitality training centre in Hanoi, giving at-risk and disadvantaged youth the opportunity to learn and thrive in their lives.​

KOTO’s purpose is to end the cycle of poverty by empowering and helping our targeted youth to forge a better future for themselves, their families and their communities.  ​

As a social enterprise, KOTO has trained over 700 students in training centres in Hanoi and Saigon, with 200 of them currently enrolled.​

In addition to the Foundation arm that focuses on raising funds to support its cause through charitable activities and initiatives, KOTO also operates an Enterprise arm, which serves as a platform for real life hospitality training and also a source of income to support the training and welfare of our students.

Kate Welch was privileged to work with The British Council in Vietnam and visited KOTO in Hanoi, tasted the lovely baked goods and met young trainees. She has since met the founder, Jimmy Pham on a number of occasions and still supports KOTO

Value Proposition Design – Alex Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur, Greg Bernarda & Alan Smith









Value Proposition Design helps you overcome the core challenges every business faces when creating successful products and services for customers.

Using the same outstanding visual format as the authors global bestseller, Business Model Generation, this sequel explains how to use Value Proposition to

1. Canvas
2. Design
3. Test
4. Evolve
resulting in products and services that customers actually want.
This book will help you understand what customers want and how to deliver it to them, you’ll learn simple new skills of design and testing which will help you deliver the needs desires of the target audience.
In addition the book gives you exclusive access to an online companion on Strategyzer.com. You will be able to assess your work, learn from peers, and download pdfs, checklists, and more.


How was Greenvines started ?
In 2010, three students just graduating from National Taiwan University’s School of Finance worked for a period of time and decided to start Greenvines. The mission of their company is” To sprout a more genuine, healthier lifestyle that sustains.”

Its social impact  

  1. Greenvines revolutionized the agriculture industry and the way that Taiwanese eat by producing the first organic “live sprout” and investing extensive R&D.
  2. The company launched its first organic sprout extract skincare product.They extended their
    belief to personal care products.
  3. Meanwhile, through food/farming education, it is striving to develop a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle for everyone.
  4. In addition, Greenvines also promotes Moringa Oil, a fair trade skin care product from Ghana which helps the growth of the Moringa trees and African farmers build better lives.
  5. As a certified B-Corp, Greenvines published its first benefit report in 2016.The company cares its employers’ welfare. For example, staff have 40 hours off paid off for volunteering every year.

What’s the business model of Greenvines?

In Bloomberg Business Week’s article, Greenvines is described as follows, “Greenvine, the Creator of Chinese Shu Uemura: Entrepreneurs who attempt  to break away from Tradition.”It has not only received widely recognition from the media but numerous awards(more than 50 media reports and 6 project awards from the government). Nowadays it works with over 300 high-quality distribution partners in Taiwan.

Written by Jennie Yen

In Our Hands – Steve Wyler

The story of community business demonstrates enthusiastic support from unlikely places, from radicals and conservatives, from the very poorest in society and from the very richest. It helps us to realise that the strength and endurance of the community business movement is not simply about breadth and scale in the here and now, but that we also have depth and scale in the past. And looking backwards into the history of community business turns out to be a way to help us look forward with greater confidence and hopefulness for the community business movement.

This is a fascinating book written by Steve Wyler OBE who was CEO of Locality until 2014. We have had the pleasure of knowing Steve for many years and learnt a lot from his wisdom and experience. He is up in The North East in early April to bring together activist around A Better Way.
This readable book reminds all of us engaged in civil society that we truly stand on the shoulders of giants. In tracing our history in such an engaging and readable way, Steve Wyler allows us to rethink our future, and in particular to understand the power of mutual support and solidarity in difficult times.

– Julia Unwin, Independent Inquiry into the Future of Civil Society

Special iApps

Special iApps develop educational apps for children with special educational needs, including autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, hearing impairment and other learning disabilities.

Special iApps is based in Durham and was founded by Bev and Colin Dean. Their younger son, William, was born in 2005 with Down syndrome and Hirschsprung’s disease. Bev recognised the potential of devices like the iPad for helping children with learning disabilities, but couldn’t find apps suitable for William, so she asked Colin to start writing some for him.

Special iApps are now growing with social investment and making the most of scale up programmes from UnLtd and the School for Social Entrepreneurs. Bev is a great supporter of the network and the North East Social Enterprise Festival run by Social Enterprise Acumen. They have won numerous awards for their work as tech entrepreneurs as well as for the social impact they are achieving.

Head over to Special iApps for more information