New Covid-19 Adaptation Package for Social Impact Businesses Announced

New package was launched to support social impacted businesses across Vietnam to overcome difficulties caused by the pandemic.

The Agency of Enterprise Development (AED) under the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), Global Affairs Canada (GAC), and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) jointly launched the “Covid-19 Adaptation Programme” for Social Impacted Businesses (SIBs) on April 28.

The package aims to increase SIBs' capacity and refine business models to address the challenges they are facing.

Vietnam has a vibrant and rapidly growing ecosystem for SIBs, which are defined as “organizations that have both trading activities and a commitment to positively impacting society/environment as the two central tenets of their strategic operations. This balancing of their social/environmental aims with a commercial model allows them to sustainably solve social and environmental challenges.”

New Covid-19 Adaptation Package for Social Impact Businesses Announced
Photo: UNDP

The number of Covid-19 cases in Vietnam is decreasing but the adverse effects of Covid-19 on the businesses, especially those led by the vulnerable groups, are still prolonged and damaging. UNDP study in August 2021 showed that household businesses and micro, small and medium enterprises found their revenue declined sharply, forcing them to cut back operations and lay off workers. Enterprises in tourism, restaurants, hotels, and passenger transportation were those that were hardest hit. This impact is exacerbated among female-headed households.

The new support package will contribute to helping SIBs remove the above bottlenecks and difficulties through concrete actions, such as sending experts and intermediary organizations to accompany SIBs in six months to solve specific problems in management, business, and product development.

New Covid-19 Adaptation Package for Social Impact Businesses Announced
General Director of MPI’s Agency for Enterprise Development Le Manh Hung. (Photo: UNDP)

"The program also provides a seed fund of VND100 million (US$ 4.3 thousand) for each enterprise to build and test new business models. This is a very valuable resource for SIBs in their reality of difficult access to financial resources," said General Director of MPI’s Agency for Enterprise Development Le Manh Hung.

New Covid-19 Adaptation Package for Social Impact Businesses Announced
UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam Caitlin Wiesen. (Photo: UNDP)

UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam Caitlin Wiesen commended Vietnam for its rapid and equitable roll-out of the vaccination program, bringing the country back to normal life. However, she is concerned about the adverse effects of Covid-19 on businesses.

“Despite the challenges SIBs are facing, we believe that they have many qualities that help them succeed such as passion, commitment, sense of responsibility, and innovation. We believe that with the support of the Covid-19 Adaptation Programme, they will gain more willpower to make changes to lives of vulnerable groups as well as the Vietnamese society” - said the Head of Cooperation, Embassy of Canada to Viet Nam, Brian Allemekinders.

As the flagship support for SIBs in the “Leveraging Viet Nam’s Social Impact Business Ecosystem in Response to Covid-19”- ISEE-COVID project, the Covid-19 Adaptation Programme is expected to help SIBs to:

(i) identify critical challenges due to Covid-19;

(ii) design new business models or develop new products/ services to adapt to Covid-19;

(iii) build and test prototypes of products/services with the seed funds.

New Covid-19 Adaptation Package for Social Impact Businesses Announced
Photo: UNDP

In 2022, the Programme will support 30 SIBs in the agriculture and tourism industries, focusing on the SIBs led by women and vulnerable groups. Each selected SIB will receive a 6-month coaching service and funding of VND 100,000,000 (US$ 4,348) to identify, build and test the prototypes or new business models.

The AED, GAC, and UNDP encourage eligible Social Impacted Business to submit Expression of Interest to participate in the Programme. All social enterprises, impact startups, cooperatives, and small and medium enterprises that work with or work for the vulnerable groups, in the agricultural and tourism sectors, are welcome to apply for the program.

There is no restriction on population group, occupation, or geographical location as long as the businesses support vulnerable groups and the proposed business models, and new products/ services are innovative, sustainable, scalable, and relevant to adapt to the challenges of Covid-19.

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