The three are Ma Phu Cuong, Tran Le My Quynh, and Truong Hoang Phuc.
Being a son of a dragon fruit farmer in the central province of Binh Thuan, Ma Phu Cuong realizes that whenever dragon fruit cacti begin flowering, his father has to eliminate most buds on each plant so that the farm reaches its full harvesting potential. This, however, is a shameful waste since the quantity of those thrown-away buds is quite large.
Thanks to his major of biotechnology in university, he is now able to use modern knowledge to further develop his cherished idea of making better use of the waste dragon fruit buds.
Tran Le My Quynh, his friend who is a sophomore in business administration, shared that she had been quite surprised at first when knowing the idea, but was then quickly persuaded by Cuong’s passion. Along with Truong Hoang Phuc, a senior in business administration, the team began their startup project.
After several months of hard working in the university’s lab, Cuong was able to achieve certain success and happily sent his result for testing in some chemical analysis centers.
"The analysis was truly impressive, as dragon fruit buds do have many useful compounds like anthocyamin, tanin, flavonoind, which are natural antioxidants and can even inhibit cancer cells, stabilize cholesterol level, prevent heart diseases, or improve the immune system. The result was a great motive force for me to perfect our product in order to quickly launch into the market”, said Cuong eagerly.
At last, following 6 months of doing research, the team was able to introduce their satisfying product to their acquaintance in the university, gaining some suggestions and adjusting it accordingly.
Explaining the brand name of this tea, My Quynh shared that the word ‘Thuan’ comes from the name of Cuong’s hometown, and the word ‘Duc’ is her team’s wish to honor the morality in business as well as their passion to their own startup project.
Participating in the ‘Luong Van Can Awards for the Talented’ contest at the end of October 2018, the team was finally able to attract capital from interested investors. It is also possible to turn this project into a specialty food business to serve tourist visiting Binh Thuan Province in the future.
According to Cuong, his team is going to develop their project to exploit other parts of the dragon fruit cacti in the hope to more effectively help farmers overcome difficulties whenever dragon fruits’ price is in a free fall.
Ms. Phan Thi Tuyet Mai, representative of the jury in the Luong Van Can Awards, said that the dragon fruit bud tea Duc Thuan has achieved the aim of drawing upon the full potential of the dragon fruit plant. She also suggested that the team should consider expand their research on creating more products from dragon fruit buds such as snack food, powder, or even pickles.