Europe, Interviews

Hoa Le Nguyen – Scaleup Lead at Handelshøyskolen BI

Tech companies should have a clear recruitment strategy focusing on diversity with measurable goals.

Hoa Le Nguyen leads a scaleup accelerator helping technology with global solutions and growth ambition. She has core expertise within corporate finance, M&A and international expansion.

She is recognized as one of the 50 leading women in Tech in Norway. Mrs. Nguyen leads 100Scaleups at BI and holds BSc in Finance, MSc in Economics as well as a Global MBA.

In a Nutshell: Tell us a bit about your job and what role technology plays in it?

I lead an accelerator that helps companies with technologies to solve global challenges within energy, healthcare and ocean to achieve growth ambition. We work with world leading innovation hubs such as MIT Martin Trust Center and BTIRDI – Science Park in China.

I also work as chairperson and board member in technology companies working with emerging markets in Asia and Africa.

Where did your professional journey start and how did you get to where you are now?

I specialized in Finance and started as an analyst. Although it was very interesting working with M&A and Corporate Finance, I realize I miss the “human” in building company and its value. I decided to make a career move to work with organisation and strategy development. Here I see the core of strategy in practice is about attracting, recruiting and developing people. I have learnt tremendously not only about successful companies, but also more importantly about the pitfalls that you cannot predict from the accounting and reports.

During this time, I took a Global MBA to improve my skills and knowledge on leadership, strategy and organisation development internationally.

Our company led a research in collaboration with MIT on entrepreneurship and found that there are very few of startups actually grow and expand internationally. We set out with a mission to help technology companies by developing program to increase competency on international expansion and leveraging our network to build links to international innovation hubs.

I was appointed to lead and build up this new business area focusing on helping technology companies to expand internationally.

What is the greatest transformation in technology you’ve witnessed in your career?

I am easily amazed and excited about technology, but even more about what technologies can do for people and our planet. A company named Motitech with a very simple video training technology, they are able to bring so much joy, improve life quality for so many elderly and people suffering from dementia.

Information Technology revolution dominated in the last decade. In the coming years, a combination of information technology, industrial and deep tech will be keys to solve global challenges in Energy, Food and Healthcare. I work closely with Norwegian tech companies and we have some of the best tech like underwater communication, new materials, gene technology in aquaculture and also tough constructions that endure harsh weather like in offshore wind.

When you think about ‘women’ and ‘technology’ what comes to your mind first?

Cool! What can I learn from her?

We always hear there are not enough women working in Tech. What needs to happen to change that, which steps should be done to achieve gender equality in tech?

I think it is similar to the Finance industry; the Tech industry is associated mostly with coding, programming and movie about Silicon Valley. We need to show a nuance picture of the industry such as promoting role models to attract girls in tech education as well as women to seek for career in the tech industry (as GALTALKSTECH is doing).

Tech companies should have clear recruitment strategy focusing on diversity with measurable goals.

Which was the best decision in your career?

I treat my career more like an exploration process and seek to learn as much as possible in any position I have.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your 14-year-old self?

I guess investing in stock exchange was not accessible when I was 14 year old as today. However, I would love to have started investing much earlier. I think it could create curiosity and learning about the business and the world beyond what you learn from school.

And also, result is not everything. Making mistakes and dealing with failure will make you stronger.

Hoa Le Nguyen leads a scaleup accelerator helping technology with global solutions and growth ambition. She has core expertise within corporate finance, M&A and international expansion.

She is recognised as one of the 50 leading women in Tech in Norway. Mrs Nguyen leads 100Scaleups at BI and holds BSc in Finance, MSc in Economics as well as a Global MBA.

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