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Female role models are important. They show possibilities, help define your own goals, and we can learn from their experiences. In our blog series #DigiWomenKA, Katharina Iyen meets one such role model from the Karlsruhe digital industry once a month to find out more about her, her experiences and her commitment. In our special edition she talks to the founders of CyberLab, the IT accelerator of the state of Baden-Württemberg, which is operated by CyberForum eV. This time she spoke to Fibi Nguyen, Co-founder of AIMINO Tech. She went through the CyberLab accelerator program with her startup. From February 23rd to 24th, 2024, the successful founder will share her experiences at the CyberLab event Empowering Female Founders with other founders.
by Katharina Iyen
I meet Fibi Nguyen in the Hoepfner Burg in the Cyber Lab. The welcome from the co-founder of Aimino is very warm. She first shows me the premises of her startup, where they are busy programming – before we go to a large meeting room with a beautiful view of the Hoepfner-Burghof area.
With this perspective we start our conversation and I get to know the founder. She reports on her time at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). After completing her schooling in Germany, she first studied business informatics and then a master’s degree in computer science with a focus on deep learning and AI, both at KIT.
“It was a demanding time, but every challenge pushed me further,” she remembers. “At the university I initially felt prejudiced because of my pronunciation,” she continues, explaining that she had difficulty being accepted into working groups. “But I learned that my performance is ultimately the most important argument,” she says with a smile.
Aimino: Human-centered artificial intelligence
And Aimino shows that the days when Nguyen had difficulty finding a group are long gone. The start-up specializes in AI-supported lead generation. “Aimino was created during the Corona pandemic, when digital connectivity became more and more important,” Nguyen tells me. The company uses Chat GPT and AI to redefine the lead generation process. “Our software automates time-consuming manual research and initiates personalized contact,” explains Nguyen. The software enables individual approaches on LinkedIn that are specifically tailored to the needs and interests of the target group.
“We see AI not just as a tool, but as a partner that helps build more human and efficient business relationships. Our vision is not just to automate the sales process, but to enrich it with real added value,” summarizes Nguyen. AI makes it possible to make processes both more efficient and more human-centered. Their approach is to use technology to meet real human needs. “Validation always remains in human hands to ensure that the contact makes sense for both parties. We want to make the initiation easier and create a good match so that human contact is established when it really makes sense for both sides.”
You can definitely learn something from “the elephants in the room”.
I encounter this approach again and again in our conversations. For example, when we talk about your leadership role as a founder. Nguyen reports how essential it is not to overlook problems, but instead to address “the elephants in the room” directly. These “elephants” represent the diverse needs and requirements within the team. “We celebrate not only successes, but also failures, because both contribute to our progress,” explains Nguyen.
I wonder not only to myself but also to Nguyen directly whether these attitudes are influenced by the experiences of her youth in Vietnam. She reports that having to fight to get full is definitely an impact. “You had to fight for everything, it really wasn’t easy, even if you did a lot,” remembers Nguyen.
Arrive in Germany
At the age of sixteen, Nguyen and her family came to Germany, where her education was not recognized. She had to learn German and go to school again at the age of eighteen, this time in the seventh grade of a secondary school, but Nguyen can also learn something positive and instructive from this experience: “It was undoubtedly a hard time, but my hard work and the friendships I formed helped me “to overcome the difficulties”.
Entrepreneurship in the family
After secondary school, he attended a business high school. “My hard work was really appreciated and I was liked. The principal of the secondary school wrote me loving postcards from her vacation in Vietnam.
She dedicated her weekends and free time to helping in the family restaurant near Kirchheim Teck. “I come from a working-class family and I value my heritage,” reports Nguyen. Her parents built the “Sumino” restaurant chain with four locations. These experiences in the catering industry also shaped Nguyen and made it a school of life. “I learned and enjoyed dealing with people at an early age,” she explains.
Vision for women, prejudices and hurdles
These experiences are still useful today. In meetings she is often surrounded exclusively by men and sometimes feels like she is not being heard – an experience that she had especially in the early days of her career. “Sometimes I’m underestimated, but I let my work speak for itself,” she reports with a mixture of positivity and calm. She continues to passionately report on the need to encourage women to get involved in the IT industry and to actively shape their careers. “We need more visibility for support programs and need to further expand women’s networks. Many women silently doubt themselves and don’t know the resources available.” At this point, she emphasizes the importance of role models and mentoring in order to break this cycle: “We need more women who dare to lead the way and share their stories – that inspires and opens doors.”
Female role models
Nguyen experienced such inspiration himself. A lecture by Iris Schwenk, one of the founders of HQS Quantum Simulations, represents such a game changer: “Iris Schwenk spoke openly about the compatibility of family and career and the hurdles when starting up. up leadership. As a result, I saw many more possibilities and solutions for myself.” Often it takes such impressions to see possibilities and that is why the visibility of role models is so important to her.
It is also particularly important to seek and receive support. Personal coaching and workshops in the areas of leadership and personality development are of great importance to her: “Coaching helped me to sharpen my leadership skills and at the same time stay true to my “true self”. “When you combine two cultures, it’s a constant journey of self-discovery.”
Stay true to yourself and inspire others
Nguyen’s look into the future paints a clear picture: “I have already achieved much more than I ever dreamed of, but my drive to develop new things remains strong. “It is a very demanding process to find your own voice and to position yourself confidently with your own story. “I want my story to inspire others. For me, it’s about leading a meaningful life and being able to look back proudly at the end – especially on a humanly valuable biography.”
Contact Fibi Nguyen
This article was published in cooperation with karlsruhe.digital.