A second chance is all it takes


    By Minh Ly

    We have entered into the auspicious Year of the Dragon, hence it is only fitting that we explore the life of an amazing individual that represents grace and strength, just like the mythical dragon. Not just another ordinary immigrant story! 

    Diem Pham, better known as Demi Pham is in her striking business outfit. While small in stature she sure packs a wallop and is a force to reckon with. A former refugee who escaped Vietnam by boat, she’s now a successful entrepreneur and role model empowering young Vietnamese women.

    At the age of 20, she dared to venture into the unknown leaving behind her family, risking it all to fulfil her dream of building a better life. Like many migrants she risked her life, not just for her own sake, but with the hopes of reuniting with her family again. 

    It wasn’t always easy for Demi growing up, not having the opportunity to break out and pursue her dreams being confined by cultural expectations, which eventually resulted in becoming a housewife and raising a family. Coming to Australia was Demi’s second chance at life, to be able to live a fulfilling and meaningful life. A fresh beginning, settling in Flemington and then later Footscray; this is where Demi’s story begins!

    Although Demi faced some significant personal setbacks arriving in Australia, she stubbornly remained optimistic and continued to push forward. She was later bitten by the business bug when she started working for her brother in the mobile telephone business in a fledgling suburban retail store located in Springvale. In little over three months Demi had taken over the store as her own, operating the business for about ten years before her successful sales exit. 

    Demi’s relentless drive and hard work paved the way to opening other businesses. Firstly, a money transfer enterprise in the financial sector to help her customers safely send money home to families with ease. Demi then set her sights on the beauty industry followed by a childcare centre.

    However, Demi’s biggest opportunity and challenge came in early 2022 when she was approached by the owners of No. 1 Food Products based in Derrimut with the intention for further growth in noodle manufacturing. After almost a year of negotiations, Demi had acquired a majority stake in the business with the goal of becoming a dominant player in noodle production in Victoria. 

    Demi has earned a string of successful business accolades, but her favourite achievement is the Alma Mater College of Australia (AMCA) because it provides an education for young people, which she felt she never had growing up. Conceiving AMCA in 2022 with only two other key founding members, Min Park and Jackie Cho, the trio has managed to turn AMCA into a leading startup academy in the area of hospitality and childcare, recently adding aged care to their certification scope. Occupying an impressive state-of-the art facility on Swanston Street in Melbourne it has successfully enrolled more than several hundred students since its inception.

    This reminds Demi of the importance of holding onto a dream, and provides a deep sense of appreciation for grit and determination, as well an unyielding never-give-up attitude. Proof that one can achieve their dreams despite personal adversity. 

    Our content is a labour of love, crafted by dedicated volunteers who are passionate about the west. We encourage submissions from our community, particularly stories about your own experiences, family history, local issues, your suburb, community events, local history, human interest stories, food, the arts, and environmental matters. Below are articles created by community contributors. You can find their names in the bylines.

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