Jimmy’s KOTO journey started on the streets of his native Vietnam, when after 22 years abroad, he was shocked by the poverty and hopelessness facing the country’s youth.
Knowing he must act, Jimmy opened a small sandwich shop in Hanoi and employed nine street kids. Under Jimmy’s guidance, KOTO has grown to become a 120‐seat restaurant, multi‐location 200‐trainee capacity training facility, registered charity and internationally recognised hospitality training provider, which has trained over 300 students. KOTO is now recognized as a global leader in the social enterprise sector and Jimmy receives regular acclaim for its establishment and success.
In 2006 he received the “James Strong Outstanding Leadership Award” in recognition of the leadership he shows to staff, trainees, the social enterprise sector and broader community. In 2009 he was a finalist in the Schwab Foundation’s “Social Entrepreneur of the Year" which recognizes those who identify social problems and implement practical solutions that combine innovation, resourcefulness and opportunity. Also in 2009 he was a participant in the World Economic Forum’s “Annual Meeting of the New Champions", which brings business leaders from a wide range of sectors together to explore challenges they are facing and identify solutions.
In 2011 he has been honoured by the World Economic Forum as a “Young Global Leader” for his professional accomplishments, commitment to society and potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world through inspiring leadership. He is invited to participate in the Forum for Young Global Leaders, which is an opportunity for the world’s most outstanding young leaders to discuss ways to deal with the most pressing global problems.
Jimmy’s philosophy has always been that KOTO (Know One, Teach One) will teach hospitality, English and life skills, to empower street and disadvantaged youth with skills, dignity and opportunity to live their lives as happy, well‐rounded people.