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Jul 26, 2022 / 21:57

Innovative social impact businesses get fund and coaching services

The coaching program aims to enhance the resilience of social impact businesses (SIBs) in Vietnam and contribute to reducing the impact of Covid-19 on vulnerable groups, especially women and girls.

Twenty-nine innovative social impact businesses in the agriculture and tourism sectors were selected to get six-month coaching services and VND100 million (nearly US$4,200) as seed funding to test and refine their creative models and realize their impact potential.

 Vietnamese innovative social impact businesses attend the ceremony. Photos: UNDP

Among the selected SIBs, Hanoi companies are Eco Fiber Research and Development JSC (ECOSOI), Vun Art, KymViet, mGreen and Vinasamex, Vinh Ha Safety Food Production and Trading JSC, Sang Group Social Business Franchise JSC and Pink Heart Handicraft Cooperative.

Information was released by the Agency of Enterprise Development (AED) under the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), the Global Affairs Canada (GAC), and the UN Development Program (UNDP) in an announcement ceremony of ‘’The Social Impact Businesses of the Covid-19 Adaptation Program 2022” and to honor the Board of Judges on July 26.

The coaching program and three incubators who will accompany SIBs to refine business models and develop new products/services that adapt to the Covid-19 situation were introduced at the event.

Brian Allemekinders, Head of Cooperation at the Embassy of Canada to Vietnam, said: “The selected SIBs of the Covid-19 Adaptation Program have inspiring stories and effective business solutions to convince the Board of Judges. We hope that this flagship support will provide them with the necessary support to experiment and implement innovative ideas that benefit a wider population, especially vulnerable groups.” 

Addressing the event, Le Manh HungGeneral Director of the MPI’s Agency for Enterprise Development said in the implementation of sustainable development goals, SIBs are an essential component not only in making a contribution to economic development but also in creating positive impacts on the society and environment via creating jobs and providing products and services for disadvantaged groups in society. 

He added: “Closely following the guidelines and policies of the Government and the Prime Minister, the Covid-19 Adaptation Program is such a meaningful, necessary, and comprehensive support both financially and technically in order to help SIBs overcome challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and to restore production post-pandemic.”

In the upcoming months, the selected SIBs will receive financial support and participate in the 1:1 coaching program with three incubators to solve specific problems in management, business, and product development, thereby contributing to the improvement of SIB's capacity to recover and further develop, he said.

 Delegates visit Vietnamese SIBs' booths at the event.

UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam Caitlin Wiesen, said: “Inspiring to see such a diversity of ideas from women-led businesses, ranging from the high-quality made-in-Vietnam products to new innovative ideas such as using larva to turn leftover foods into organic fertilizer, and a new rice cultivation method that saves costs, circulates nutrients and reduces greenhouse gas.”

She underlined: “With the re-opening of Vietnamese tourism, I hope that creative models such as ‘dining in the dark', innovative community tourism, and the application of reducing waste in the tourism sector will grow quickly. The ISEE-Covid project is building a critically important ecosystem for such social impact businesses to succeed and scale.” 

Three inspiring incubators including BizCare, Wise, and Angle4Us, will be working closely with the selected SIBs in the next six months to identify critical challenges faced by the SIBs due to Covid-19, design new business models, or develop new products/ services to adapt to the pandemic and build and test prototypes of products/services with the seed funds. 

The project “Leveraging Vietnam’s Social Impact Business Ecosystem in Response to Covid-19” (ISEE COVID project), with sponsorship from Global Affairs Canada, is co-implemented by UNDP and the Agency of Enterprise Development (AED), the Ministry of Planning and Investment since April. 

The project aims to enhance the resilience of social impact businesses (SIBs) in Vietnam and contribute to reducing the impact of Covid-19 on vulnerable groups, especially women and girls.

The ISEE Covid project has two primary objectives: improving the effectiveness of SIBs, especially those led by women and vulnerable groups, to address the social and gendered impacts of Covid-19 and accelerate the achievement of the SDGs; and strengthen the regulatory environment for SIBs to be more gender-responsive, inclusive and transparent, thereby supporting the resilience of SIBs to Covid-19 impact, with a particular focus on SIBs that are led by women and other vulnerable groups.