Jimmy Pham has been a pillar of the Hanoian community for over 22 years.
Born in Saigon but raised in Sydney, Jimmy keeps a foot in both camps which have allowed him to successfully operate in the hospitality sector in Vietnam, for over 20 years.
Jimmy’s long history operating the KOTO social enterprise has allowed him to develop extensive experience in the social justice space and vast business networks within Vietnam.
His high visibility among both expats and local Vietnamese has long been an asset that he has utilised by mentoring socially inclusive businesses into thriving institutions in Hanoi
through the Centre for Social Initiatives Promotion.
KOTO was founded by Jimmy Pham in 1996. It began as a small sandwich stall in Hanoi’s Old Quarter at the beginning of a period of rapid economic development for Vietnam.
That sandwich shop quickly evolved into a fine dining restaurant beside Hanoi’s Temple of Literature.
KOTO’s student numbers increased dramatically and it began to offer study tours, cooking courses, and catering. All of which are still available today.
In 2020, however, like many businesses around the world, KOTO was hit hard by the Coronavirus. As the tourist trade ground to a halt the Van Mieu restaurant, sadly, became no longer viable and needed to close its doors.
But KOTO’s staff, trainees, and leadership have never backed down from a challenge. In November of 2020, KOTO Villa opened in Hanoi’s Tay Ho district. A French colonial villa with room for over 100 people, it now feeds both Hanoi locals and visitors alike with a range of both local and foreign foods and continues to train some of Vietnam’s most at- risk and disadvantaged youth.
In 2021 Jimmy co-Founded VietHarvest an innovative new social enterprise founded in 2020 that collects quality surplus food and redistributes it to underserved communities in Vietnam, based on OzHarvest in Australia.
Jimmy can tailor his presentations to incorporate the following themes and takeaways alongside his journey with KOTO.
- Circular economy
- Social Enterprise & social impact
- Impact measurement
- A gentle leader - leading with passion
- Gender equity/empowerment
- Building culture and values
- Transforming marginalised groups into active citizens
- Social impact vs charity
- Responsible tourism
- Insights into life and business in Vietnam
Core themes that Jimmy's presentation includes are:
- A deep dive into social enterprise
- The importance of Economic empowerment
- How to lead a life of purpose
Revolutionising the "fishing industry" | Jimmy Pham | TEDxBaDinhFollowing the ancient proverb, "Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime," Jimmy has helped hundreds of street kids in Vietnam to learn invaluable, internationally-recognised hospitality and cooking skills. Pham shares his remarkable story of growing his social enterprise KOTO - Know One Teach One - from a street food stall to two restaurants and a training centre. Jimmy is a member of the board of directors for the Centre for Social Initiatives Promotion (CSIP), a Vietnamese nongovernmental organization which mentors, incubates and funds social enterprises. Jimmy was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in January 2013, an honour acknowledging his significant service to the community, particularly with marginalized children and youth in Vietnam. KOTO was named finalist for the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award and KOTO was awarded the inaugural UNICEF Vietnam Zero Award for Social Innovation for its work championing the rights of children and youth. On March 29th 2017, Jimmy will be in Seoul, receiving the 2017 POSCO TJ Park Prize for Community Development & Philanthrophy award for his significant contribution to disadvantaged youth in Vietnam. “Know One, Teach One” and underlies Jimmy’s philosophy. “To be successful means giving back,” he said.
Jimmy Pham: Perspectives on Business in a changing worldThis short interview with well known social entrepreneur, founder of KOTO Vietnam, Jimmy Pham is part of the course material for our undergraduate course - Business of Changing the World.
Jimmy Pham - KOTOJimmy Pham knows his purpose; to make a difference, and through knowing one and teaching one, he has. Twenty six years ago, the Founder and now Managing Director of KOTO international (a not for profit organisation, unique vocational training program and restaurant) had an encounter on the streets of Vietnam which would change his life, and the lives of hundreds more young and disadvantaged Vietnamese, forever. The then travel consultant was moved by the poverty and hopelessness of the street kids he saw when he returned to Vietnam after a 22-year absence. Jimmy set about helping them in the simplest of ways; he fed them and gave them access to showers and accommodation, but left Vietnam knowing this was not the solution, but that he wanted to make a difference! Four months later he returned to Vietnam, armed with just his philosophy and passion, and set about supporting the kids that he had encountered previously. Nearly four years later, he asked the same street kids that he was helping what they believe they needed to gain a better tomorrow. The answer was surprisingly simple, we need skills, they said. From this the concept of KOTO (Know One, Teach One) was born.
Talk Vietnam - Jimmy Pham | Saxton Speakers
Jimmy was a very engaging speaker. A unique and inspiring story. The audience was visibly moved by his stories of hardship and struggle. ... keep reading AXA Australia
Jimmy was wonderful, he really hit the right note with our attendees and bringing the kids in the KOTO program with him was a great addition. We had a lot of questions to Jimmy and the kids which was great. Our client was thrilled with his presentation; everyone was talking about it for days after and were really touched by his story and particularly hearing from the kids themselves that are taking part in the program. The best part was that his presentation really reinforced our theme of 'Many Voices, One Team'.