Our Judge, Mr. Denny Cowger is the Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel at OrthoLite, a Boston-based company with branches and factories all over the world.
With more than 10 years of experience, particularly in Law and Business, Mr. Cowger would provide a broader and more global perspective for the Finalists. In this age when a thriving business has to solve the equation of “think global, act local”, his advice would be very spot-on.
Studying Asian Studies and Law as well as working in various nations, Mr. Cowger can utilize 12 languages, including several Asian ones such as Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, etc.
Mr. Cowger is currently working at Boston-based OrthoLite – a global company with sales offices in the United States, Vietnam, Asia and Europe as well as manufacturing facilities in China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Korea. Its mission is “to provide high quality and comfortable shoe insoles and support the unique structure of the foot.” As of now, products of OrthoLite can be found inside virtually every major footwear brand.
In a recent interview with VietChallenge, Mr. Cowger shared his experience and lesson learned about business and startup:
1. Why did you accept the invitation to become a judge for VietChallenge, the first-ever business idea competition for Vietnamese entrepreneurs globally?
OrthoLite is an industry-leading company with a strong presence in Vietnam. I think it is a responsibility of any successful individual to give back and help grow the younger generation of aspiring entrepreneurs. This competition fits perfectly with what we do at OrthoLite; we hope to add whatever we can to the growth of entrepreneurship and help fuel innovative ideas.
2. What unique experience do you think you can use to help mentor young Vietnamese entrepreneurs at the competition?
I have a background in working with Vietnamese and helping to set up a number of new businesses, branches, joint ventures and start-ups.
3. You are among one of the very few international attorneys who practiced law in Vietnam for several years. What do you think about the Vietnamese young entrepreneurs? What are their strengths and weaknesses in your opinion?
Young Vietnamese entrepreneurs are a passionate bunch. I hear many inspiring stories and have strong followers who want to learn more about how to start their own business. I see this much more with Vietnamese entrepreneurs than with their contemporaries in the West.
4. Please tell us one of your observations about Vietnamese or the Vietnam’s economy.
The Vietnamese economy is starting to really pick up as China’s manufacturing starts to slow down. I see more companies moving operations out of China to Vietnam and this trend will continue for the foreseeable future. Once the Trans-Pacific Partnership comes into effect, I think this trend will intensify even more. Because of this, it is important for shoe component providers like OrthoLite to have a strong presence in Vietnam. Through our factory there, we are able to provide better service to customers based in this area by offering shorter lead times and local customer service.
5. What advice do you want to give to the aspiring Vietnamese entrepreneurs?
Don’t be afraid to fail. Never give up. Giving up is the only true failure. What I have learned in start-ups is failure can make you grow more than you can ever imagine if you don’t lose the passion to move forward and try, try, again!
6. We understand that your company, Ortholite, is a sponsor to VietChallenge. Please tell us about your company and its commitment to the development of Vietnamese economy and its support for Vietnamese entrepreneurs.
OrthoLite is the world’s leading provider of comfort and performance foam insoles worn by millions of people worldwide and found in more than 260 million pairs of shoes in many of the top footwear brands. We make insoles for almost every shoe brand you know (and even don’t know); chances are that you have used our product at some time or we are in your shoes right now.
OrthoLite is proud to have a factory currently located in Vietnam in southern Binh Duong province’s Thuan An town. OrthoLite employs local staff at this factory for product development and sampling for customers based in Vietnam. At OrthoLite, we are ‘all in’ with our commitment to the development of the Vietnamese economy and supporting Vietnamese entrepreneurs. I can only see this commitment growing and becoming firmer in the future.
To learn more about OrthoLite or to purchase OrthoLite insoles visit, www.OrthoLite.com.