A woman empowerment advocate

A woman empowerment advocate

RMIT Vietnam alumnus Tran Thi Ngoc Tran has turned her life-long passion for education into action through Future For Women - a transformative program that provides women with the skills and resources they need to become successful entrepreneurs.

Her journey started with her strong belief and personal experience that education and communication can influence a person's behaviour positively, equip them to take greater control of their own lives, and contribute to changing society.

Alt Text is not present for this image, Taking dc:title 'tran-thi-ngoc-tran-1' RMIT Master of Education (Leadership and Management) alumnus and Co-founder of ForGood Vietnam, Tran Thi Ngoc Tran

An entrepreneur at heart, from a young age, Tran always liked to do something where she could earn money on her own and have freedom over her time.

“During the 1990s when the internet and computers were a luxury, my friends and I started a business which provided printed greeting cards with inspirational messages,” Tran shared.

Even though her first business closed shortly after more and more people got access to these innovations, it sparked a fire in her which has smouldered over years waiting for its time to shine beautifully.

Like the majority of those who were born after the country reunification, Tran followed her parents’ advice to work for a state-owned educational institution which, according to their perspectives, was more stable and suitable for women.

“I was lucky enough to secure a position where I had opportunities to design and create new things, collaborate externally and learn new things constantly,” Tran said.

“But deep down, I always felt there was something missing.”

A scholarship to study RMIT Master of Education (Leadership and Management) in 2006 [one of the University’s very first postgraduate degree] has changed her life, allowed her to experience a lot of firsts and reinforced her belief in the possibility of pursuing a journey towards empowering women for a more sustainable future.

“The education I experienced at RMIT showed me that an open environment can help learners feel comfortable and allow them to engage and share freely,” Tran shared.

“Another first was its quality curriculum with a clear agenda and framework yet completely expandable depending on the subject which was discussed or taught.

“That pivoted my perspective on how an educational environment can transform a person and gave me a nudge to build programs focusing on women’s empowerment.”

Tran went on with her pursuit of knowledge to prepare for the establishment of ForGood Vietnam whose vision is to nurture an inclusive Vietnam where all people, including those from disadvantaged groups play a full part in society. Tran attended the Changing Faces Women's Leadership Seminar at the East West Center, worked for the NGO Girl Rising as a Country Manager in Vietnam, and was selected as the 2021 Echidna Global Scholar at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC. Tran is currently undertaking a PhD with Andrews University in the US, investigating about women leadership and entrepreneurship.

Despite a rocky launch caused by the global pandemic, Future For Women, the pillar of ForGood Vietnam, saw over 75% of the entrepreneurial women successfully complete comprehensive training designed to enhance various aspects of their entrepreneurship ideas and foster their personal and professional growth in multiple domains, including knowledge and leadership, business acumen, emotional intelligence, social skills, and entrepreneurial skills.

Alt Text is not present for this image, Taking dc:title 'tran-thi-ngoc-tran-2' Tran presented the impact report of Future For Women program.

Participants also received support in overcoming the gender-based constraints that negatively impact the businesses of women entrepreneurs, one-on-one mentorship from experts in their respective business fields and practical information on various support resources.

“We have empowered the alumni to establish and run their own network of Women Entrepreneurship Community Vietnam (WECV), which has grown to more than 650 members nationwide, to facilitate knowledge-sharing and collaboration,” Tran said.

Alt Text is not present for this image, Taking dc:title 'tran-thi-ngoc-tran-3' Tran and ForGood’s co-founder Huynh Le Khanh at the launch of the Women Entrepreneurship Community Vietnam (WECV)

“The first season was a roller coaster ride as we could not anticipate the workload and level of details that we had to handle. On top of that, COVID-19 pandemic posed unpreceded challenges which impacted everyone, especially women with children and family,” Tran recalled.

“Yet the outcome was rewarding. It was not just the number of new registered businesses, but how the participants have grown their self-leadership, which is fundamental to the business and community levels of leadership, over the course of six months.”

Tran shared a story about a want-to-be-an-entrepreneur and teacher who travelled all the way from a mountainous province to Ho Chi Minh City every weekend to participate in the program.

“During our very first meeting, she said that she was very tired because she had to wake up since midnight, catch a coach and travel more than 360 kilometres to class,” Tran said.

“It turned out she was the one who never missed a class and always found her way to apply what she had learnt. This amazing woman was the champion of the 2023 Innovative ideas, start-ups, and businesses competition for women of Dak Lak province.”

“It was just one of many inspirational stories that our participants brought to the program. Each and every one of them had their own stories and obstacles, but all expressed a strong eagerness to learn and grow.”

Alt Text is not present for this image, Taking dc:title 'tran-thi-ngoc-tran-4' The second cohort of the Future For Women program

Following the completion of the program, which was supported by the US Consulate General Ho Chi Minh City in the 2020-21 period and continues to receive support from the Echidna Giving Fund in 2022-23, a total of 26 businesses were founded by the participants and are currently operating across a wide range of sectors, such as food and beverage services, tourism, technology solutions, accommodation services, children’s playgrounds, healthcare, electricity and electronics, fine arts, law, agriculture, and many more. These businesses are in diverse localities across Vietnam, including Quang Ninh, Dak Lak, Lam Dong, Danang, Ho Chi Minh City, Vung Tau, Vinh Long, and Can Tho.

ForGood recently has been selected as the implementing partner of the 2023 Academy for Women Entrepreneurs, a global program targeting women entrepreneurs during their early stage, sponsored by the US Department of State. This is the second year the program has been implemented in Vietnam.

“In addition to the meaning of doing something good, ForGood also stands for lasting forever which speaks well of our aspiration of giving female entrepreneurs and disadvantaged populations a robust foundation so that they can stay strong, bounce back and keep going even when they fail or go through challenging time,” Tran concluded.


In celebration of Vietnamese Women’s Day, RMIT Vietnam proudly presents stories of transformation and impact our alumni have made to the community we serve and beyond.

Watch the video about Tran Thi Ngoc Tran.

Watch the full playlist.

Story: Ha Hoang

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