About Our Guest

Toan Nguyen has a passion for starting businesses. In 1997, he started Shelf Life, Inc., a company that designed and manufactured wooden bookshelves and furniture. In 2000, Toan and his wife, Betsy Patrick, started C’ville Coffee, a popular meeting place for families, students, and business people. In 2007, Toan and Betsy started C’ville Cookies Co., a company dedicated to spread the fame of the highly addictive “Honey Bunches” cookies nationwide. Toan also founded a benefit corporation called C’ville Central in April of 2013. Before embarking on the entrepreneurial journey, Toan worked as a professional photographer for the Houston Astros, a chef at a gourmet restaurant, a draftsman in an architecture firm, a construction manager at a development company, and as a sales and marketing manager at Carrier Corporation. Born in Saigon, Vietnam, Toan was raised in Bruxelles, Belgium, and has lived in Heidelberg (Germany), Paris (France), Houston, Alexandria, San Francisco, Syracuse, and Hartford, CT. Toan has strong attachments to Charlottesville and the University of Virginia. Toan received a B.S. from its Architecture School and an M.B.A. from its Darden School of Business. Being involved with CIC is a way for Toan to give back to the community for all the blessings that he has received from this wonderful community.

Program Transcript

Jan Paynter: Hello. I’m Jan Paynter and I want to welcome you once again to our program Politics Matters. We are so pleased to have as our guest today Toan Nguyen to discuss his work on behalf of small business startup initiatives and microloan opportunities which he has spearheaded through the Community Investment Collaborative or CIC and also his work on C’ville Central. Welcome, Mr. Nguyen.

Toan Nguyen: Thank you, Jan. Thank you for having me here.

Jan Paynter: Toan Nguyen was born in Vietnam and subsequently was raised in Brussels and the United States. He received a BS in Architecture from the University of Virginia and an MBA from UVA’s Darden School of Business. Mr. Nguyen is co-creator of the Community Investment Collaborative, a nonprofit micro lending institution in Charlottesville that provides business training, loans and mentoring to fledgling small businesses.

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