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eHub - paper 2008

eHub - paper 2008

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eHub - paper 2008

  1. 1. This is a project paper dedicated to the Call for paper of the Education Without Borders 2009 conference. The paper is subject to a fixed template with section headlines (overview, needs, target groups, and so on) and a limit of ten pages at maximum. This is the first draft of an idea that I have been harboring for long and is not copyrighted. Please feel free to share to others and send all feedback to vovietanh@gmail.com. Thank you for taking your time. eHub—the Big Green Hut: Sustainable Business for a Better World e-World: Harnessing Technology for a Better World Vo Viet Anh Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Vietnam e-mail: vovietanh@gmail.com Overview For topics as effervescent as environment or as cynically hype as global warming, integrators around the world have already been coming up with bold solutions—cleantech and green business—to tackle these global issues. However, people are feeling over-saturated with “green” lately, and students—the main force of future changes—become increasingly confused about how and why they should include environmentalism in their everyday decision. Meanwhile, high school is one of the most critical turning points in one‟s learning life where one decides which field of study to opt in; and high school students is part of what Robert Hormats calls the “millennium generation”—who are coming of the age in the globalization system—to take power in these countries before there can be a sustained turnaround. However, students, especially in developing countries like Vietnam, manifest a surprising lack of awareness to what it takes for that turnaround—environmentalism, cleantech, sustainability. Therefore, in order to help nurture a new generation of student knowledgeable enough to bring about changes for a better future quality of life, I plan to set out a start-up that can do business and grow sustainably in the quest of knowledge transfer. The company—eHub the Big Green Hut— would operate (22 hours/day, 7 days/week) a chain of multi-operation establishment—called eHub— situated near locally eminent high schools and entailed by a wide range of organized activities geared toward local students. To attract a large amount of high school students, multiple operations that cover all daily needs (eating, drinking, listening to music, playing game, studying and sleeping) are crammed into eHub—attending their needs spot-on. Because those young boys and girls in developing countries are naïve and inattentive; activities/programs are designated to steward and educate them for their practical sake first, so mature they will be capable to realize themselves global issues and bring about changes by voluntarily tackling them head-on or contributing to a healthy global economy without destroying the environment. Speaking of which, these active and profitable activities/programs are added to create a wholesome eHub Experience as part of the “study” operation. To that end, we recognize profit is essential to our future success and comes from capital otherwise wasted elsewhere. Moreover, eHub is a green business and a green building itself to represents a real-life touch of the knowledge the company wants to harness. Note that, most employees are recruited students; all customers and employees in eHub are “members” under the roof of the Big Green Hut all the way after they graduate from high school, go to university, study abroad, and succeed in life. We take an ad hoc approach by starting in Vietnam and extend it into the future to other compatible countries. Most details about the businesses in this paper are designed for the first eHub in Ho Chi Minh (HCM), Vietnam before being developed and adjusted for a national and regional rollout. Though the subject absence of awareness among students is germinating in almost all world‟s developing cities, we recognize a bottom line that not all cities have a customer base that allows eHub to grow sustainably. The profit for our growth comes from business-to-customer (e.g. F&B, merchandising, lodging) and business-to-business (e.g. consultation). Most operations are profit- oriented precisely because we can‟t build an environmentally and socially responsible business without it being economically responsible as well. On the other hand, this approach helps our members demystify how green businesses really make money while staying “green.” We don‟t dole out goodies for unprofitable environmental practices but passively impact the environment and community in long term. Also, the name eHub implies our hub strategy in which it coordinates communication and knowledge transfer between high school students and field experts, entrepreneurs, graduates and authorities; technology transfer between countries.
  2. 2. This is a project paper dedicated to the Call for paper of the Education Without Borders 2009 conference. The paper is subject to a fixed template with section headlines (overview, needs, target groups, and so on) and a limit of ten pages at maximum. This is the first draft of an idea that I have been harboring for long and is not copyrighted. Please feel free to share to others and send all feedback to vovietanh@gmail.com. Thank you for taking your time. Needs In the midst of globalization, save for weapon control, most social and ethical problems are surfacing to a bubble in Vietnam and haven‟t shown signs of reaching their high-water mark. At the same time, high school students have many liabilities that keep them from moving fast yet are not to be removed. I myself wasted so much time in high school with unproductive buffers. The hardship is still lively in my memory. Back then, we had morning and afternoon sessions every day and I remember struggling to have a good sleep at noon and traveling long distances to fulfill distinctive needs. It was even difficult to find a place to maintain a productive study mood. Subconsciously, we need a place that meets all needs and even facilitate socialization. This need is not recognized yet, as Steve Jobs, Apple‟s CEO says, who know what they want if it‟s just around the next corner. Furthermore, I was among few students who developed a strong interest in both environmentalism and business in my school. But as I started a discussion about the intersection of the two subjects with schoolmates, I quickly found my conversation out the window. As time passed, my friends found their way in banks or became entrepreneur. Recently when I was back in Vietnam and came to their companies to talk sustainable business practices, I still noticed eyes rolling. Sustainable issues are often inadvertently skirted in the name of procuring at cheapest prices. Without the adoption of these entrepreneurs and companies, there won‟t be any green building or green business in Vietnam, which results in unstoppable impact of this country on air pollution, global warming and more. As a corollary, companies need more education and consultation on these subjects. Nowadays, students in developed countries gather to run institutions known as think-tanks. They do research, work on theories and projects, and present ideas in front of congressmen. There are more than a hundred think tanks in US and UK; teens in India, Australia, Canada, German, France, Belgium; less than five in major East Asian countries; Vietnam, two; UAE, one. And most of them are not student-run, definitely, but there‟s no excuse. We need to get students‟ serious ideas on the desk of policymakers and even petition city hall for the sake of sustainability and environmentalism. Besides, in this growing economy, there‟s a growing concern that parents become so busy at work thus unnoticed that they free their children from study-hard duty. These parents need to be aroused to awareness of new generation‟s development in all aspects. Success in fulfilling this need will, at the same time, help earn eHub a parents-backed customer base. Target Groups As specified, the project is meant for high school students (and all the way after their graduation) in Vietnam and many East Asian countries. However, because this project is a business, the target group has to pay for products, services and membership. In order to serve the subject group in inexpensive prices, we find ways to maximize all operations‟ sources of profits, thereby we serve all university students, teachers, businesspersons, professionals or anyone who may want to hang around in eHub after coming to host or participate in an activity. This helps channel capital from other customer base to the target group. Goals The eHub is not intended to become only a school sensation, insinuating into students‟ life. Rather, the business is a vehicle to pursue a larger mission: we will do everything—e.g. striving to buy, sell and use environmentally friendly products—to stand out with our top-to-bottom commitment to social and corporate responsibility that would rub off on our members, community and entrepreneur clients. The eHub will be the Big Green home where people can eat, drink, listen to music, play game, sleep and study, to an extent that this full eHub Experience will instill the importance of understanding environmental issues into their mind. We will also get experts and professors to help them learn to develop innovative and flexible solutions to bring about changes. Furthermore, we intend to turn our members into a passive force in peace movement. As defined by Thomas L. Friedman (2000) in The Lexus and The Oliver Tree, the Golden Arches Theory stipulates that people in McDonald‟s countries don‟t like to fight wars anymore, they prefer to wait in line for burgers. Following this, I want to introduce the Big Green Theory as followed: students in eHub countries don‟t give a darn if people fight, they prefer to duck in study booth to work on where to have McDonald‟s put its first store in their residence. This theory can be a big help in the context of Vietnam where multinationals like McDonald‟s, Starbucks and Wal-Mart haven‟t enter yet. To that
  3. 3. This is a project paper dedicated to the Call for paper of the Education Without Borders 2009 conference. The paper is subject to a fixed template with section headlines (overview, needs, target groups, and so on) and a limit of ten pages at maximum. This is the first draft of an idea that I have been harboring for long and is not copyrighted. Please feel free to share to others and send all feedback to vovietanh@gmail.com. Thank you for taking your time. end, this business has to go global to attain exponential growth and influence; it has to sustain by far to see members fly high and return as full-fledged contributors. Activities and Methodology The first step to create a wholesome eHub Experience is to build the eHub establishment to be a green building out of concern that without a focus on energy-efficient and green building, we have no chance for tackling global climate change. Currently prevalent features of green building can be obtained from world‟s best-of-breed high-tech green companies and projects, some of whose buildings are designed and built to the US Green Building Council (USGBC)‟s LEED standards. They are Affordable Internet Service Online (AISO)—an epitome of green business with 100% solar power host, Building Research Establishment (BRE), Beddington Zero Energy Development (BedZED), and Kalahari Harlem—“a green high-rise with all the latest features but a reasonable price tag” in New York City. Their details have been contemplated to come up with a set of green features that can be applied to the eHub building. Fad or fact, a green building‟s accouterments should include solar panel, vegetated green rooftop, low-flow water fixtures, bamboo floors, and energy-efficient appliances that make up whatever extra start-up costs incurred in the coin of smaller monthly energy bills. Let me sketch here in broad strokes. The green building: the first step to sustainability Starting with construction, the site clearance contract would specify maximum reuse and recycling of materials from the existing building. By this I mean eHub is committed to using recycled, reclaimed, renewable, or locally sourced building materials on site in everything from structural steel and concrete to brick, which otherwise wind up in landfills. Nevertheless, these materials are scrutinized together with newly procured ones to assure low level of volatile organic compound (VOC) emission that attributes to sick building syndrome, air pollution and global warming. Besides, interior is preferably built using steel and stainless steel appliances, labeled by Energy Star at best. Outside, albedos are increased wherever possible to order to offset greenhouse gases; and exterior walls are painted with green seal certified low VOC paint mostly in white, which according to the Climate Change Research Conference in California, significantly reduces planet-heating carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere. Only green are added for eye candy because studies show that they are restful to eyes and can reduce fatigue (Starbucks logo is one famous demonstration of the theory). However, brown is considered to use too. Furthermore, we apply passive design solutions that minimize building energy demand and consumption. They are passive solar design (orientation), window design and placement (fenestration), thermal massing, green roof, and more. Lighting during day can be completely provided by the use of solar tubes that bring in the outside light and minimize the need to flip a switch. The tubes used by AISO even use recycled content in parts. Each tube can save over 600 pounds of CO2 emission from a coal-burning power plant in as little as one year. At night, light emitting diode (LED) lighting takes place because it reduces electricity usage, contains no mercury and keeps more than 9,000 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions out of the atmosphere over its lifetime (about 105,000 hours) based on data from Energy Star and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Alternations such as widely used compact fluorescent (CFL) and fluorescent light bulbs (FLB) contain mercury, which becomes a concern at landfills and trash incinerators. Also, we deploy high-grade insulation with double-glazing windows and thick walls to prevent overheating in summer (especially in Vietnam) and store warmth in winter. Environmentally friendly insulation is stuffed in and next to interior walls, keeping the condensation on the outside of the building. Additionally, cooling system includes no air conditioning but thermal mass and passive stack ventilation with distinctive rotating wind cowls. Green roof. On green roof, a layer of dirt 3 to 4 inches thick of drought resistant plants, grasses, and mosses help insulate the building, reduce cooling requirements by up to 50%, mitigate urban heat island effect, and filter pollutants out of air and rainwater. Bamboo flooring. Environmentally oriented builders love bamboo—earth‟s fastest growing plant, versatile, tough, thereby perfect for floors. By using building bamboo (preferably Moso bamboo), we encourage people to grow this perfect plant which releases 35% more oxygen than equivalent timber stands, reduces timber consumption, and saves methane/CO2, “inhaling” trees like
  4. 4. This is a project paper dedicated to the Call for paper of the Education Without Borders 2009 conference. The paper is subject to a fixed template with section headlines (overview, needs, target groups, and so on) and a limit of ten pages at maximum. This is the first draft of an idea that I have been harboring for long and is not copyrighted. Please feel free to share to others and send all feedback to vovietanh@gmail.com. Thank you for taking your time. oak. This can translate into less greenhouse gas, reduce global warming, save forest and still provide a breathtakingly pretty floor. Furthermore, we look for only sustainably grown bamboo—roots are left behind for regeneration and adhesives used in production contain close to no formaldehyde. Solar energy. Vietnam receives 1400-2000 hours of sunshine per year in the north and 2000- 3000 hours per year in the central and southern part so we can take advantage of this renewable energy source. On the pitched roof, the solar panel arrays will be installed on the side that faces due south, which generates the most possible amount of electricity, while „green roof‟ is set up on other side. After converted from DC to AC, the solar power is stored in a battery bank. After 5PM, it leaves the battery bank to run throughout the building‟s electronic equipments to attend greater energy consumption during nighttime business. Once out of energy, normal electricity supply is switched on. Fig. 1. Sketch of the multi-operation establishment eHub and the „hexagon of life‟ The first eHub in Vietnam was designed with seven floors, which each carries one business, in the order above, to invent a precise pattern for students‟ activities from floor 1 through floor 7. Future eHub will be adjusted to swap the order, carry more or less businesses, or to carry more than one on a floor. Our product and service selection process is based on the „hexagon of life,‟ which indicates students‟ six daily distinctive needs, so that any product or service is a complement to others, not a substitute cannibalizing sale, and enhances the value to the customer. Back to the eHub in Vietnam, different floor operations are described below. Floor 1 operation: food & beverage (F&B) and merchandising The F&B operation is to introduce inexpensive and healthy food and, especially, two lines of beverage, which each serve a distinctive consuming purpose—to get energized or to get calmed. To zero waste production, refills are offered and no packaged F&B are served. Eat. In the context of Vietnam, Vietnamese baguette sandwich is the perfectly suitable food item. Also, it allows free customization of savory fillings and accompaniments (meat, vegetable, soy, fish, egg, spices), and provide roundly 900 kcal and high amount of vitamins and minerals per serving for the Vietnamese pork sandwich—one of the most common varieties. This food item‟s components can be outsourced to prominent bakery in the city and served at average price of 1USD per serving. Drink. In the „energizing‟ line, we introduce tea and coffee, with Doppio (doubleshot espresso) as best offer (containing highest concentration of caffeine); in the „calming‟ line, we introduce decaffeinated tea and coffee (decaf), with Tazo Calm™ Tea as best offer. Both coffee and tea reduce risk of a range of cancers and, thanks to caffeine, boost alertness (stimulant), temporarily averts fatigue and tiredness (analgesic effect). Many people drink coffee for its ability to increase short-term recall and increase IQ while the role of tea is well established in normalizing blood
  5. 5. This is a project paper dedicated to the Call for paper of the Education Without Borders 2009 conference. The paper is subject to a fixed template with section headlines (overview, needs, target groups, and so on) and a limit of ten pages at maximum. This is the first draft of an idea that I have been harboring for long and is not copyrighted. Please feel free to share to others and send all feedback to vovietanh@gmail.com. Thank you for taking your time. pressure, lipid depressing activity. Furthermore, green tea also lowers chances of cognitive impairment and stress hormone levels while black tea has a significant calming effect following stressful situation. Meanwhile, their decaf counterparts—with at least 97% of the caffeine removed—don‟t make drinker jittery or awake and still remain potential anti-cancer effect. They are best used when hot for calming effect before a good sleep or after an examination. Students had better flock hither for a coffee in early morning, then back to have a cup of decaf at noon and go upstairs to have a good sleep before afternoon session. Besides, I am looking for more suppliers like Tazo—part of Starbucks Corp. and foremost an environmentally responsible company. Play. In order to put a stop to the ongoing concerned Internet-gaming spree that absorbs almost all students‟ time and poses serious problems with eyes, spine, skin and health, we suggest gamers switch to a healthier and versatile alternative—handheld game console (HGC). Popular HGCs are affordable luxury to most gamers and become increasingly demanded around the world, including Sony‟s PSP ($200), Nintendo DS ($130), Apple‟s iPod Touch (starting at $230), and iPhone (starting at $200). These devices support wireless internet connection, local multiplayer gaming, music listening and ebook reading—simply everything a student ever needs for recreation and continuous learning. Besides, we sell many jigsaws and strategic board games like chess and Risk™ (which geeks and nerds like Bill Gate loved to play since childhood as a learning recreation). Music. First-rate music is played on the background and we offer in-store downloading of music and ebook on customers‟ HGCs/MP3 players. Floor 2 operation: day and night lodging Sleep. Only students with membership card can buy this service. This floor are divided into two single-sex section and provides paid lodging, basic accommodation, comfortable bunk bed (good sleep against a fair price without all hassle and add-ons), wall-built-in music player, personal reading light and alarm clock (so students won‟t miss their class). From 7PM to 7AM, this service is open to travelers, backpackers and transients to whom a daytime lockout is insisted. Floor 3 operation: beverage bar with light meals and sparking conversation campaign This floor business mainly purports to serve non-student customers who come for activities on four floors atop. On top of that, we want to spark conversation over meal by designing an insulating corrugated paper sleeve for every served cup printed an eHub logo and a thought-provoking quote or fact as „takeaway‟ or conversation topic. This is a very effective and flexible way to make eHub buzzed with conversation, do marketing, educate customers to intended interests (especially about growing community of companies and individuals committed to clean, renewable energy solutions), sell advertising opportunity, and utilize post-consumer recycled fiber. This can also be good sports and boundless source of inspiration to students who are preparing to tackle TOEFL or SAT essay questions, and business partners or lovers who are seeking for mutual understandings. Human resource management: come a worker, leave a leader We capacitate our personnel by offering part-time job on floor 1 and 3 to trendy and affluent students from local high schools and universities. These recruits are demanded to have not only the right skills but also a rapidly growing personal brand/social capital. They are also trained to be serious with the job (not to skip shift), absorb the company‟s philosophy and share it with customers through one-on- one rapport, and keep „problematic faces‟ out of the lodging service. In this knowledge and service economy, the more knowledge they gain, the more value to the business, their self-confidence, and real impact on others increase. Therefore, employees are promised their personal development in eHub, free seminar/workshop attendance, and personal relationship. Imagine how great an employee may feel when a fellow student comes back to him and tells him the coffee he served this morning has help her survive the test. Besides, we encourage employees to claim finished jigsaw and solved puzzles for prize, which keep them from straying away from job or feeling bored when no one waits in line. Also, people are less likely to be tempted to skip serving a customer by that kind of recreation. Floor 4 operation: an upbeat meeting place for seminar and workshop Study. Large rooms are for hire and often used by eHub to host seminar/workshop with guest speakers and paid attendance. The content is prioritized on environmentalism, cleantech, green business, and green job (ECGBGJ). Friedman (2000) says, as it unites the world, globalization
  6. 6. This is a project paper dedicated to the Call for paper of the Education Without Borders 2009 conference. The paper is subject to a fixed template with section headlines (overview, needs, target groups, and so on) and a limit of ten pages at maximum. This is the first draft of an idea that I have been harboring for long and is not copyrighted. Please feel free to share to others and send all feedback to vovietanh@gmail.com. Thank you for taking your time. transforms everyone‟s workplace, job, market and community—rapidly destroying old jobs and harvesting new ones, eliminating old markets and multiplying new ones, destroying old industries and inventing new ones. When technology is changing beneath your feet daily, you have to replace everything you know and prepare for new jobs. Among new jobs are sustainability manager— conducting an in-depth audit of the business‟s environment impact; and staff ecologist—working to reduce environmental footprint. Therefore, all students need to be well equipped with the knowledge and adopt a lifelong learning no matter what career they are pursuing. Floor 5-6 operation: „brain box‟ and the mini think-tank Study. These floors are filled with study booths where students pay a small fee to borrow a key to enter and they can invite friends or tutors to study with or work on a project, which makes this place a real melting pot. „Brain box‟ actually is another way to call think-tank but it fits well to call these study booths where people devote their heart and soul to lifelong learning. Herein, advertisement, articles, and pictures are stuck all over the walls. More popular and important ones find themselves appear more often. They are both learning vehicle but also another profit source. The mini think-tank: knowledge is capital, project is future I intend to organize a mini version of student-run think tank overseas as a non-official entity based on floor 5 while floor 4 is serviceable to any student. In first months, we would recognize and siphon off brightest faces among students from local high schools and universities who buy brain box service and bring them together in the mini think-tank to be knowledge workers. Herein, they are have to go through a follow-up program before being coached by an advisory board on aforementioned ECGBGJ and associated policies to work on projects/ideas, publish magazine and earn money. To found a strong advisory board, we call for prominent professionals, activists, entrepreneurs, and teachers. They must offer themselves as resources to the think-tank, assist in hosting workshops, feedback with ideas/business plans, and introductions with policymakers and entrepreneurs. Besides, members have to learn about and do research to improve every aspects of eHub from green building features, to activities, to management methodologies. For example, they have to study world‟s green organizations (EPA, USGBC), standards (Energy Star), rating systems (LEED), regulation, building codes, certification, institutional drivers and resources affecting the adoption of green building practices, etc. There will be contests among individuals and teams, and winning ideas/projects (e.g. improvement of K-12 text books and curricula) will be granted opportunity to present in front of companies or politicians who can bring them in action. Eventually, we look forward to developing exceptional people and teams who thoroughly understand the work, live the philosophy, and teach it to others. They will surely come back to help eHub after having succeeded in life. Business-to-business: expand the green economy At first, eHub earns from ads of businesses whose target customer is student (training, language school; study abroad agency, private college, music, game, F&B, etc.). An initial group of professionals will be teamed up to provide consultation on cleantech and green business practices. We would let companies know that most talented and qualified applicants are increasingly considering a company‟s ethics and community support when selecting their employer and more. Successful members of the mini think-tank would later join this business, sell conducted research/survey, submit proposals to organizations and get paid to execute accepted ones. The eHub acts as broker between these members and client businesses/organizations and captures a portion of payment. Furthermore, these practices serve as pre-education to the community before eHub can stand out as a procurement agency of environmentally friendly and energy-efficient equipment/building materials for companies. Student activities: prepare for next step after graduation Together with eHub employment and mini think-tank membership, meaningful activities are designed to help students prepare jazzy résumés for foreign college admission and future job or internship application. Activities include volunteerism, paid field trip, and educational retreat sponsored by institutions. Volunteerism encompasses civic efforts to forge alliance with politicians and community leaders while people taking part in field trip expect highly competitive games instead of scant time for unstructured sightseeing or hobnobbing. Both activities give members chance to build leadership skills, grow as teams, and strengthen corporate identity.
  7. 7. This is a project paper dedicated to the Call for paper of the Education Without Borders 2009 conference. The paper is subject to a fixed template with section headlines (overview, needs, target groups, and so on) and a limit of ten pages at maximum. This is the first draft of an idea that I have been harboring for long and is not copyrighted. Please feel free to share to others and send all feedback to vovietanh@gmail.com. Thank you for taking your time. Parent campaign: motivation from family Top reasons why parents should love to bankroll their children to buy eHub‟s products and services are: they have raised a productive, informed, and savvy child who is taking the lead in their education and future career (and can brag about that to fellow parents); there‟s no expense for internet game (huge!) or purchase of concert tickets or manga involved. Furthermore, we can educate parents that, as Friedman (2000) says, the best thing they can do to prepare kids for the Internet age is not to teach them more high-tech skills, or buy them faster modems and computers, but rather to stress more old-fashioned fundamentals. If parents want to see kids thrive and get the best out of internet, there‟s only one old-fashioned way: by stressing reading, writing and arithmetic, church, temple, and family. Evidently, my mom couldn‟t stress me into doing anything, except for not mistaking my wallet with hers, until I told her to do so. This leaves room for her to both develop her vigilance to my development and mercilessly whack temptations that sometimes lure me out of my desk. The Virgo Talk—future project No matter how many people believe in astrology, all sites commenting on personal traits of Virgoan point out my most accurate and extreme characteristic: I would stand up for what I think is right and bash to the ground anyone I think doing bad thing. Nowadays, there are lots of Virgoans and even non-Virgo people out there who are free from political/economic drive and are compelled to do right things and bring down every bad guys in sight. I have had a dream to gather most trustworthy and value-driven people among them in a talk show that would premiere on the national channel to address all unproductive or unethical political/economic figures in their community, in that stage and screen effects are heavily added. Guest participants and discourse content are strictly monitored to keep at bay special interests, uncertain facts and flamebait. Moreover, criticized figures are then invited to argue vis-à-vis with respective critics. However, eHub is free of duty to protect the critics outside the stage so they have to consider their status before and after the show before applying. Tan Son Nhat (TSN) Airport—future project This is the biggest international airport in Vietnam with spacious unused areas that expose to a wildest number of people. It should be turned into something like the Long Beach Airport in California where Suntrek Company installed arrays of solar panels with dual-access tracker that turn ugly corners into bright and educational areas. If we can introduce companies like Suntrek to sign similar installation contract with TSN Airport, eHub can shop local solar energy from here and we can send a message to local community and visitors coming here that we are a green community. Implementation and Timeframe The first eHub is built on the lot (10x20m2 ) next to High School for The Gifted, so far the best one in HCM, Vietnam, where two bike repairing service shops are occupying. The rental contract can be obtained with help of the school board because they have the clout: the current business is polluting the school front and affecting health of hundreds of students. The subject lot benefits from high identity, visibility, average traffic counts, dense in-fill location; six high schools and three universities within a 1-mile radius. Herein, we will compete directly with the school‟s cafeteria where all kinds of snack item, bottled drink, and lunch are served. Before construction, to prevent future conflict, we will talk to the cafeteria about creating a healthier and vibrant marketplace. If eHub comes in, we adds value to this locale, synergy forms, students start to know they have options in this area, develop habits, and a hanging-around culture grows. Branding and marketing: simple and precise We aim to create an ever-growing customer base through word of mouth by sales promotion (coupon contained in print media, beverage sample), advertisement geared toward both students and parents on specialized channels (e.g. educational channel VTV2 in Vietnam), and public relation. Public relation 3.0: ubiquitous eHub We take advantage of non-paid communication efforts, such as press releases, speeches at seminars, appearances on radio, TV and magazine, which earn eHub uncounted tons of positive ink. Besides, we mobilize active and experienced members to form a PR team to organize events for eHub. This team gains fame and develops to an extent that it works under eHub name and becomes the
  8. 8. This is a project paper dedicated to the Call for paper of the Education Without Borders 2009 conference. The paper is subject to a fixed template with section headlines (overview, needs, target groups, and so on) and a limit of ten pages at maximum. This is the first draft of an idea that I have been harboring for long and is not copyrighted. Please feel free to share to others and send all feedback to vovietanh@gmail.com. Thank you for taking your time. company‟s asset. The eHub will then attract event contracts and pass down to this PR division. When projecting an event for eHub or client company, this team has to run fundraising, offer advertising opportunities to seek for more capital from outside, a portion of which eHub is entitled to capture. The website: house of ideas The website is developed from selected functions of the My Starbucks Idea website, Del.icio.us and Twitter. Everyone can access to post, vote, develop, add details to or dismiss ideas on ECGBGJ subjects and associated policy, eHub improvement, and anything for a better future. You can also share bookmark and do micro-blogging to socialize. To members of the mini think-tank, participating in this website is compulsory to demonstrate the efficiency of their research with bold new ideas. Next, we partner with websites like Green Wikia—a for-profit venture of Wikipedia‟s Jimmy Wales—to offer a follow-up tool to members. For example, if a posted idea is about biodiesel and you don‟t know about biodiesel, you can look for the link generated by the website based on the tag „biodiesel‟ of the post to the subject article in Green Wikia. Finally, to put another finger on the business pulse, prepaid reservations of books, HCGs and lodging are allowed through the website. Procurement: make purchase for the future We look for local suppliers for most building materials, facilities and products while high-tech green equipments (e.g. Energy Star labeled), decaf and all HGCs are ordered online or directly and shipped from overseas. Solar panels can be purchased from the solar panel and cell manufacturing factory in Long An Province—the first of its kind in Vietnam, built on March 20, 2008. Besides, lately, an agricultural training program by the International Finance Corporation (IFC—World Bank Group) has helped farmers of Thanh Hoa Province to use sustainable farming practices in growing bamboo to provide a local flooring factory with grade-A and grade-B bamboo. Therefore, high-quality flooring bamboo can be locally purchased there. Pricing: put value in hand of the right people Everyone can register membership and deposit money to obtain a card to make payment (member database is very useful asset for mobilization). In the midst of economic crisis, customer acquisition and retention is insisted rather than short-term profit. Therefore, eHub pricing strategy is to offer relatively reasonable price for daily vital needs—eat, drink, sleep, study—for the target group (high school student) but charge higher for music and play. Also, they don‟t have to pay for unsolicited service (e.g. free refill, Wi-fi connection). On the other hand, the business is still profit- oriented in a way that all purchases made by non-student and non-member are charged much higher. Skim pricing strategy is applied to books (hardcover/softcover), HGCs (with/without accessories), etc. For example, price for hardcover book (more favorable version) is set high for the impatient and drops down later for identical book in softcover. This translates into a capital transfer from non-student to student; and from student with customer surplus to student with less value. Timeline (Best case scenario) One year and a half prior to Opening: make pitches to raise fund, venture capital; found advisory board; contact school board, landowner and vendors to prepare construction. 15-10 months prior to Opening: found management team; finalize business plan and financials. 9-7 months prior to Opening: update business plan per feedback from potential financiers; finalize design plans and register rights for business name. 6-4 months prior to Opening: deliver pre-education to local schools and companies. 3-1 months prior to Opening: contact local media for pre-marketing; recruit and train staff. 5 months (one high school semester) after Opening: launch the mini think-tank. 15 months after Opening: profit earned and national rollout. 24 months after Opening: regional rollout. Resources From my slightest projection for a precise start-up and the first eHub, needed budget is up to two million USD. Budget for future eHub in other countries depends greatly on how locally resources are purchased. To pursue an ambitious regional rollout, eHub needs to embody an international identity from the start. This means a management team and an advisory board with at least one third of seats filled with foreigners who play main role in pre-marketing as representatives in their countries to make eHub precede its presence. Most members of the two groups will advance to form the mini
  9. 9. This is a project paper dedicated to the Call for paper of the Education Without Borders 2009 conference. The paper is subject to a fixed template with section headlines (overview, needs, target groups, and so on) and a limit of ten pages at maximum. This is the first draft of an idea that I have been harboring for long and is not copyrighted. Please feel free to share to others and send all feedback to vovietanh@gmail.com. Thank you for taking your time. think-tank‟s advisory board and assist in all aspects of eHub improvement from know-how to technique. Other people who would get extra interest in supporting and financing eHub are „green organizations‟ (e.g. IFC Sustainability), local governments, trendy moguls, passionate entrepreneurs, young and intellectual individuals who are looking forward to bringing about changes. As Friedman (2000) implies, capital will come in if it‟s sure at what value it‟s going to be when it wants to go out. Initial public offering (IPO) is considered after eHub has 20 stores and is present in three countries, when it has achieve at least a profit margin of 10 percent of revenues and growth of 10 percent annually. I speculate that this IPO would turn into a hot issue in a green boom, just as many internet stocks shot up in price during the dotcom boom. Project Organization The advisory board is called for through international conferences while management team can be directly headhunted from Caravat.com—the best high-profile executives pool in Vietnam. After that, advisory members are asked to join and fill in skill gaps for management team. Managers are responsible for everything about eHub with help of the following three groups. A Mission Review Committee is to establish internal checks and retrieve feedback from members to keep the company stuck to its philosophy. An Emerging Businesses Committee is in charge of multiplying profit sources and expanding customer base. The mini think-tank is responsible for culture and leadership development, emerging issues, partner resources, IT department, media relation and environmental affairs. These three teams play main role in national rollout. Next, criteria to consider a country suitable for regional rollout are development level and elements that imply its need for eHub, say aforementioned number of active think-tanks. First destinations are Thailand, Taiwan, Malaysia, Philippine, then India, Australia, UAE and more. Cases like China, Korea and Japan are scrutinized and eHub will be taken up by home nationals if it expands there. All EWB alumnae are welcome to join then. Besides, to facilitate eHub expansion, unit franchise is considered—standardizing each floor business model independently and sell its franchise to attend only unmet needs at institutions. Evaluation First, eHub is judged if it best represents a green building and green business. Furthermore, eHub success is based on annual growth; the number of excellent ideas posted on the websites and their vote counts; number of implemented ideas; changes brought out to the community; and foremost the success of “eHub alumnae” in life. The advisory board plays main role in overlooking these measurements. Aforementioned Mission Review Committee is also responsible for checking feedback from members to propose instant amendment when needed. Special Considerations Many Vietnamese students are bright and intellectual but they and everyone around them have been lacking awareness of global issues for so long. They tend to be a Joe Shmoe rather than a Crazy Frog in any essay or speech contest calling for authentic and creative papers on environmentalism. Most ideas submitted were so trivial or hackneyed that they triggered no change or execution. We can see that many undergraduates and graduates are so excited with learning government policies, but why didn‟t anything change for the better around them? Therefore, to admonish their attitude and change their way of thinking, we have to change thoroughly everything and everyone around them. If a single knot is missed in the process, our efforts will crumble before profit is sighted. To create a wholesome eHub Experience for the change of everything and everyone, it requires many resources that are not locally and sustainably available. For example, decaf is expensive to purchase overseas and there‟s a shortage of HGCs in even major markets like Japan, North America, Europe, South Korea, let alone in Vietnam. Furthermore, resources mean needed people and needed materials. Not everyone can hire a Chris Hughes of Facebook like President Obama. In addition, before a regional rollout, the eHub image should be well managed and translated as an international entity. Because, when eHub is expanded to a country more developed than Vietnam, people there might scoff at it as an our-little-and-poor-neighbor-based company. Notably, to enlist students in businesses and teach them to handle money properly is possibly the hardest task and may remain a dominant issue wherever eHub is.
  10. 10. This is a project paper dedicated to the Call for paper of the Education Without Borders 2009 conference. The paper is subject to a fixed template with section headlines (overview, needs, target groups, and so on) and a limit of ten pages at maximum. This is the first draft of an idea that I have been harboring for long and is not copyrighted. Please feel free to share to others and send all feedback to vovietanh@gmail.com. Thank you for taking your time. Finally, if there were any alternation that can be made to the project, it‟d be a downsizing—to remain the floor 1 businesses and the „study‟ operation with all associated businesses and activities. Even if eHub is downsized to three floors, or even two floors, as long as all people involved keep in mind a Virgo Way—to do the right and turn down the bad—eHub would thrive. References: sources of inspiration Friedman, T. L. 2000. The Lexus and the Oliver Tree, 136, 253, 415, 472. Michelli, J. 2008. The Starbucks Experience, 76, 86, 129. Poundstone, W. 2003. How would you move mount Fuji, 50-51. Harvard Business School. 2000. Note on Marketing Strategy, 12. UC Berkeley Wellness Letter (2004). Is It True What They Say About Decaf, retrieved December 2, 2008 from http://www.wellnessletter.com/html/wl/2004/wlFeatured0504.html. AISO, Inc. Solar Power Network and Commitment to Environment, retrieved December 5, 2008 from http://www.aiso.net/company-profile.asp. Wikipedia. Think tank, coffee, tea, decaf, franchising, green, handheld game console, Roosevelt Institution, IPO, hot issue; retrieved December 3-30, 2008 from http://en.wikipedia.org/. Vietnam Solar Serve (VSS). VSS project website, retrieved December 10, 2008 from http://www.vietnamsolarserve.org/. Vietnam Business Forum (2008). Vietnam to build the first solar panel, cell plant, retrieved December 10, 2008 from http://vibforum.vcci.com.vn/news_detail.asp?news_id=12612. Kalahari Harlem. Kalahari Harlem green living, retrieved December 10, 2008 from http://www.kalahari-harlem.com/. The Green 50 (2008). Profiles of the Green 50. All articles about the Green 50 companies, retrieved December 12, 2008 from http://www.inc.com/green/. Bambu, llc. Why Choose Bamboo, retrieved December 15, 2008 from http://www.bambuhome.com/html/whybamboo.html. IFC Sustainability. Vietnam: Bamboo farmers learn sustainable practices, retrieved December 15, 2008 from http://ifc.org/ifcext/sustainability.nsf/Content/OurStories_SocialResponsibility_VietnamBamboo. Global warming facts. How to stop global warming, retrieved December 16, 2008 from http://globalwarming-facts.info/50-tips.html. BRE (2000). BRE‟s Environmental Building website, retrieved December 16, 2008 from http://projects.bre.co.uk/envbuild/. BedZED (2002). BedZED website, retrieved October 1, 2007 from http://www.bedzed.org.uk/main.html. Recipe Zaar. Vietnamese Pork Sandwich Nutritional facts, retrieved December 18, 2008 from http://www.recipezaar.com/recipe/nutrition?rid=51295. Green Tech CNET News (2008). Wikipedia‟s Wales launches Wikia Green, retrieved December 19, 2008 from http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-10035622-54.html. Fortune 500 (2008). What makes Apple golden, retrieved December 23, 2008 from http://money.cnn.com/2008/02/29/news/companies/amac_apple.fortune/index.htm. YouTube (2008). Solar power at Long Beach Airport video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PzVMpR3fyo. Tutor.com. Convince your parent, retrieved January 3, 2009 from http://www.tutor.com/convince- parents.

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