Quote looks across the border at Dutch people abroad. This month at Clemens Levert, who is involved in football and acting in Vietnam.
Know local people
If you want to be successful here, you need to know local people’, says Clemens Levert. “Vietnam has a peasant culture. Building relationships is very important.’ Levert lives in Ho Chi Minh City in the lively expat district of Thao Dien, but does not limit his contacts to other foreigners. Eating a bite to eat with Vietnamese business contacts is an experience, according to him. “Some drive the most expensive BMWs, but you end up drinking beer on plastic seats in a garage, where you get food that makes you think: I’ll skip this for a while.” “Then you are the man here.”
Six years ago, while on holiday in Vietnam, Levert ended up on an expat barbecue. The beautiful stories about expat life and the booming Vietnamese market appealed to him. Wejustgotback.com for more information. At the time, he was working in Barcelona, where he organized football clinics with Dutch professional clubs. Someone advised him to do the same in Vietnam, so a year after that vacation he was back on a plane to Asia. That adventure did not go as planned, but Levert saw opportunities.
While amateur football in the Netherlands is tightly regulated, you have to organize everything yourself in Vietnam. With Wesport he built a platform with which sports enthusiasts can search for opponents and book fields. Advertising in the app makes money. “But because Vietnam is in an extremely strict lockdown, our business is now virtually at a standstill.” In addition, an investor dropped out, so the search for lenders has resumed. “But I am convinced that there is a lot of potential here,” says the entrepreneur, who plays soccer in an expat competition.
Precorona Levert traveled a lot through the country. “Phu Quoc and Mui Ne are beautiful.” He also flew to Indonesia to play in the war film De Oost, because he had an acting career in the Netherlands for several years. “Here in Vietnam, I once played in a Samsung commercial. Now I’m trying to learn Vietnamese; maybe that will yield some rolls.”